Buscador avanzado

Le navire d’exploration turc Oruç Reis. Photo d’archives AFP

La Grèce et la Turquie se livrent à nouveau à un jeu dangereux sur l’île grecque de Kastellorizo, située à deux kilomètres des côtes turques. Si les deux pays sont depuis longtemps en désaccord sur l’île, le différend actuel concerne l’envoi dans cette zone, à plusieurs reprises depuis août dernier, d’un navire d’exploration d’hydrocarbures turc, l’Oruç Reis. Cependant, la récurrence de ces tensions découle en fin de compte de l’absence de traité sur les frontières maritimes entre les deux pays.Ce manque de clarté a contribué à des frictions pendant des décennies, et pas seulement sur l’île de Kastellorizo. En fait, les deux pays revendiquent des zones économiques exclusives (ZEE) qui se chevauchent de manière significative, rendant impossible tout projet qui viserait à exploiter pleinement les ressources sous-marines de la zone.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Turkish drilling vessel Yavuz is escorted by a Turkish Navy frigate in the eastern Mediterranean off Cyprus in August 2019. (Murad Sezer/Reuters)

On Sunday, Turkey pulled back its seismic exploration vessel, Oruc Reis, from the contested areas of the eastern Mediterranean to pave the path for the beginning of negotiations with Greece. Just as well. Tensions in “the East Med” — the shorthand for a corner of the Mediterranean with rich gas reserves and contested maritime boundaries — run so high that no one is ruling out an actual war between Turkey and Greece.

Turkey, Greece and Cyprus are at loggerheads about how to allocate zones to explore the newly discovered hydrocarbon resources in the area — with France throwing its weight behind the Greek position and the United Arab Emirates sending warplanes to Crete.…  Seguir leyendo »

Warships from Greece, Italy, Cyprus and France participate in joint military exercises from Aug. 26 to 28 south of Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean sea. (Greek Defense MiniStry/AP)

Last weekend, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded that Greece engage in talks over escalating tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, warning that “they’re either going to understand the language of politics and diplomacy, or in the field with painful experiences.” The Greek government, meanwhile, announced further steps this week to bolster the country’s defenses.

New tensions between the two longtime rivals flared up in mid-August, when Turkey deployed the research vessel Oruç Reis, flanked by two warships, to explore for oil and gas in contested waters between the islands of Crete and Cyprus. Greece accused Turkey of violating its sovereign rights — and dispatched warships of its own, precipitating a collision between a Greek frigate and a Turkish warship.…  Seguir leyendo »

Vingt-quatre heures avant sa visite d’Etat à Athènes en décembre 2017, M. Erdogan avait proposé de réviser le traité de Lausanne sur le tracé de la frontière gréco-turque avec cet argument novateur : «Comment des îles en mer Egée pourraient-elles être grecques alors que la Turquie est à portée de voix ?»

Depuis ce mardi 11 août une dizaine de navires militaires turcs qui accompagnent Oruc Reis, navire de recherche, sillonnent les eaux du plateau continental grec, européen donc, en mer Egée. Pour ne rien gâcher à la verve géopoétique du président turc, c’est l’équivalent d’un voisin bruyant, ayant officiellement demandé d’occuper une bonne partie de votre appartement sous prétexte que sa voix porte loin et qui dorénavant fait des rondes, arme à la main, sur votre trottoir en frôlant la porte d’entrée.…  Seguir leyendo »

Supporters of Greece’s far-right Golden Dawn party during a protest against Turkey in Athens last month. Credit Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

In a rapidly intensifying war of words, government officials of the nominal NATO allies Greece and Turkey have been exchanging insults and threats in the past few weeks, recalling conflicts from a shared and bloody history. Relations have rarely been rosy, but the speed with which they have worsened, and the level of vitriol, have raised fears that the two heavily armed neighbors may be trash-talking their way to new conflict.

Adding to those concerns is the awareness that the two most credible mediators between the two sides — the United States and the European Union — appear to have little leverage with Turkey.…  Seguir leyendo »

The edge of the buffer zone in the town of Deryneia. Photo via Getty Images.

This time around, the push for resolution comes from inside Cyprus.

For the first time since the Turkish invasion of 1974, the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot communities both have moderate pro-resolution leaders. With assistance from the UN, Nicos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci have spent two years discussing the complex web of issues dividing the two communities: the land area each will occupy, the constitutional setup of the reunified Cypriot state, the return of Greek refugees to areas occupied by Turkey, and the compensation for loss of property. In the latest round of negotiations in Switzerland there were still disagreements, but it seems both sides are willing to find a compromise.…  Seguir leyendo »

Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders are seeking to resolve a decades-long dispute about the governance of Cyprus in talks happening in Geneva, Switzerland. The island remains divided by a United Nations buffer zone, established to end the conflict between the two sides. But although fighting ceased in 1974, a permanent agreement on how Cyprus should be governed has never been reached. There are several very big questions to answer before that can happen.

What is the main topic of discussion?

Right now, everything is on the table. The first two days of talks between the two Cypriot leaders are intended to lead to a high-level conference with representatives from Greece, Turkey, and the UK.…  Seguir leyendo »

In the powder keg of the Middle East’s religious and ethnic conflicts, the 40-year-long division of Cyprus between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots shouldn’t rank high on the list of dangers to defuse. This does not make the issue less relevant — nor less dangerous.

Turkey, already unsettled by the surge in Islamist extremism and Kurdish nationalism in the region, has now raised the stakes in the eastern Mediterranean. Demanding that the Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union, stop exploring for gas and oil in the island’s offshore economic zone, on Oct. 20 Ankara sent an exploratory vessel into the same waters — accompanied by a warship.…  Seguir leyendo »

At a time when regional crises appear ubiquitous, there is one decades-old flash point in the world where the chances of reconciliation and a lasting peace are steadily improving: the 50-year old Cyprus dispute.

I have been in Washington this week meeting with American officials at both the White House and State Department, as well as members of Congress and leaders in the think tank world, to discuss exciting developments at home focusing on United Nations-sponsored negotiations between the Greek Cypriot administration and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Turkish Cypriot President Dervis Eroglu and Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades issued a joint declaration last month setting out a new road map for talks in the hope of resolving this 50-year-old dispute once and for all.…  Seguir leyendo »

It has often been said that Cyprus never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. This maxim was being bandied about especially after the negative Greek Cypriot vote on reunification in 2004. Life was good in their south of the island then and there was no apparent cost to sticking with the status quo.

A new reality has now imposed itself on the Greek Cypriots. The situation is dire and the immediate future does not look encouraging unless imaginative solutions are found. I firmly believe those solutions are now within reach.

Here’s why. Economic and social conditions in the Turkish-controlled north are improving, creating a more level playing field between the two sides.…  Seguir leyendo »