The new decade arrives with a great game in the east Mediterranean, where all the protagonists know how deeply their moves will impact the region, Greek newspaper Katherimini said in an editorial on Friday.
As Greece, Cyprus and Israel have increased cooperation over the years and remain determined to overcome obstacles set by Turkey, all eyes are set on the next move by Russia, whose gas supply to Europe is not like to wane in the near future, it said.
The leaders of Greece, Israel and Cyprus on Thursday signed a deal for an undersea pipeline that would carry gas from new offshore deposits in the southeastern Mediterranean to continental Europe, in a move angering Ankara.
The deal arrives amid the race to claim offshore energy deposits in the southern Mediterranean, which has increased tensions between Greece and Cyprus, on the one side, Turkey, on the other.
Pointing out that the European Union is providing funds for the study of the EastMed pipeline, the article said Washington is pleased that such a project would help lessen the EU’s dependence on Russian gas.
While the EastMed pipeline will be designed to carry 10 billion cubic meters of gas annually, Russia’s Nord Stream 1 and 2 alone will reach 110 bcm per year and as such Europe will not be weaned off Russian gas so easily, Kathimerini said.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s parliament on Thursday authorised the deployment of troops to Libya to support the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli, further adding to regional tensions.
Ankara will not be able to defend troops in an area where it cannot provide air and naval cover, the article said.
It remains to be seen what Moscow will do, Kathimerini said, pointing out that despite Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 missile defence system from Russia, Ankara and Moscow remain on different sides of the conflict in Libya.
Despite the current euphoria by all parties who are making moves in the region, the new decade’s great game is merely just beginning, it said.