Gas Is The Reason For Tensions in The Eastern Mediterranean

Political analysis has never been my strong suit. Therefore I was reluctant to write about the press statement of the Turkish Foreign Minister, regarding Turkish-Israeli relations.

This statement can be regarded as the end of Mr. Davutoğlu’s own personal “Zero problems with the neighbors” foreign policy. Whether that was a sustainable and realistic policy is a different matter, but that era seems to be over now.

The measures to be taken by the Turkish government against Israel are creating a bunch of speculations and discussions.

From a naval point of view the statement “As a littoral state which has the longest coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey will take whatever measures it deems necessary in order to ensure the freedom of navigation in the Eastern Mediterranean”. is the most important one. And open to speculations.

The first thing that come to mind regarding measures deemed necessary for the freedom of navigation are warships. Nobody would be surprised if the existence of Turkish Navy in the Eastern Mediterranean would increase any further. And current Turkish Navy has an impressive force in the region. 3 frigates TCG Kemalreis, TCG Gaziantep, TCG Gökçeada and one submarine TCG 1. İnönü are in region for Operation Unified Protector. There is one frigate or corvette attached to Unifil’s Maritime Task Force. One replenishment ship and one submarine is periodically join Operation Active Endeavor. Plus there is the national Operation Mediterranean Shield stated to provide security of oil transportation from Ceyhan terminal area and to demonstrate presence against possible risks and threats existing in the eastern Mediterranean and discourage them.
So these days on average Turkish Navy has at least 4 to 5 frigates and two submarines plus some support ships in Eastern Mediterranean.

Despite the harsh tone of Mr Davutoğlu’s statement in general I do not think that there will be any engagement between Israeli and Turkish warships. Maybe some shadowing, and show of flag. Any further escalation is not in the in the interest of any nation.

If I am interpreting the text correctly, there is no overt or covert mentioning of Turkish naval escorts for ships going to Gaza Strip.

Despite the harsh tone of Mr Davutoğlu’s statement in general I do not think that there will be any engagement between Israeli and Turkish warships. Maybe some shadowing, and show of flag. Any further escalation is not in the in the interest of any nation.  Seemingly, Mr. Ayalon thinks likewise.

Further more I think that although the Mr Davutoğlu’s speech is aimed to Israel, other Eastern Mediterranean nations  Cyprus and Egypt are also addressed.  Turkey made it clear that it does not want any explorations of  hydrocarbon sources before a resolution over the Cyprus conflict is reached. Disrupting the Israeli Cypriot rapprochement over the gas explorations is more vital to Turkey than the apology for the Mavi Marmara.

Never the less it is beyond any doubt that there will be some tension in the Eastern Mediterranean for the coming weeks.

3 Responses to Gas Is The Reason For Tensions in The Eastern Mediterranean

  1. Kerem says:

    Is it possible to have a section showing where the ships of Turkish navy are currently deployed?

  2. @ Kerem: Thank you for your comment. I try to report on the deployments of Turkish warships as often as possible. And I try to be as precise as possible.

    I find your suggesting very tempting but keeping it constantly update could be beyond my work load.

  3. Kerem says:

    I was unaware that such information could be accessed online. You give very precise information on the deployments.

    For starters, it wouldn’t have to be anything fancy. You could have a page with sections for say: Black Sea, Marmara Sea, Aegean Sea, Eastern Med, and Western Med or others. You would simply update respective sections as you post articles about some of the operations. It would be more of a summary of various different articles of yours summed up in a single place showing what you know with dates so that we know when they’re outdated. It’s just an idea for future.

    The blog is very informative, keep up the good work.

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