Egypt, Greece, Greek Cypriots

The leaders of Greece and the Greek Cypriots came together on Nov. 8 in Cairo with Egypt’s strong man Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for a tripartite summit, to discuss ways of deepening trilateral cooperation in making the best use of the Mediterranean’s natural wealth.

Apart from the lofty rhetoric of Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Greek Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiades pledging to al-Sisi that their EU member countries would act as an “ambassador” for Egypt within the European club of democracies, at the very center of the trilateral summit were the Mediterranean hydrocarbon riches and Turkey’s refusal to recognize the sovereignty of Cyprus as the sole legitimate government on the island.

There were claims before the summit that although it is not in the best interests of Egypt, al-Sisi might sign an agreement with Samaras on nautical boundary between Greece and Egypt, in a revanchist response to constant Turkish criticism of the coup administration in Cairo. Such an agreement would lock Turkey into a narrow region along its cost and convert the Mediterranean into a mostly Greek lake.

Furthermore, since the median line that Egypt and Turkey have in the Mediterranean is far more to the benefit of Cairo, signing an agreement with Greece before undertaking a similar move would amount to surrendering a sizeable area to Greece in a region believed to have rich hydrocarbon potential. Still, very much like Turkey nodding to U.S. about the return of Greece to NATO membership in exchange for some empty promises, all sorts of oddities are possible in coup administrations.

For Turkey, what would be important would be losing a huge area in the Mediterranean, but more than that it would become even more difficult for Turkey to...

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