Escalating tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean

26 October 2020

The situation in the Eastern Mediterranean has become a great concern, with existing conflicts and proxy wars already causing a humanitarian crisis, and the escalating tensions between Turkey and Greece signalling further risk. A military confrontation would have disastrous consequences, both for the two neighbouring states and their people, and the wider region.

Such an eventuality poses an even greater threat today, at a time when the world is facing the COVID-19 emergency. We recall the recent statement of the UN Secretary General António Guterres, who warns that the pandemic is having profound social, economic and political consequences, including international peace and security.

The Socialist International expresses great concern over these growing tensions, and inflammatory public rhetoric, which leads to further escalation and the risk of a fatal accident.

In this context, it is crucial to work together, with members of our International family and likeminded political forces in both Greece and Turkey, in order to send a strong message that citizens in the region wish to resolve existing conflicts peacefully.

In times of a dangerous pandemic, we must prioritise increasing inequality, the climate crisis, and population movements. These issues demand global cooperation, and make regional cooperation imperative.

A restart of exploratory talks between Greece and Turkey, a show of the political will to resolve disputes through constructive dialogue and diplomacy, will provide a signal for the peaceful resolution of conflicts in the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean.

The SI also supports the proposal for a multilateral conference on the Eastern Mediterranean, which will contribute to the resolution of issues related with maritime borders, exclusive economic zones, and gas exploration. This Conference must further pave the way towards cooperation on renewable energy and a regional New Green Deal.