The Legal and Political Dimensions of the Eastern Mediterranean Crisis: What Is at Stake?

Erdogan A.

INSIGHT TURKEY, vol.23, no.1, pp.77-98, 2021 (Journal Indexed in ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 23 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.25253/99.2021231.7
  • Title of Journal : INSIGHT TURKEY
  • Page Numbers: pp.77-98
  • Keywords: Eastern Mediterranean, Energy, Crisis, Maritime Border, Delimitation, Natural Gas


The main challenge in relation to Mediterranean gas is the distribution of potential gas reserves which inevitably entails delimitation of maritime borders. However, in the context of the Eastern Mediterranean, this is highly problematic mainly due to the status of the Greek islands along with their close proximity to the Turkish mainland and the failure in resolving the 'Cyprus issue.' There are two key questions in relation to the Eastern Mediterranean crisis: (i) What are the contesting claims over maritime border delimitation between Turkey, Greece, and the Greek Administration of Southern Cyprus with reference to the international law? (ii) Why has the Eastern Mediterranean dispute been politicized so much that it has drawn in countries far from the region? This article examines the legal and political dimensions of the Eastern Mediterranean crisis by analyzing the respective countries' standpoints through the lens of international law along with the implications of earlier such disputes. The article also investigates the political dimensions of the crisis by looking into alliance formation and how existing political tensions in the region came to the surface in the Eastern Mediterranean.