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Eastern Mediterranean

CrisisWatch Eastern Mediterranean

Unchanged Situation

Turkey and Greece held high-level meeting to discuss migration-related issues, while tensions continued in maritime domain. Following series of irregular migration incidents in Oct, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis 2 Nov met in Turkish capital Ankara to discuss migration issues; Soylu reportedly requested Athens to end pushback of migrants in exchange for Turkey accepting more than 1,000 migrants, proposed communication line between Greek and Turkish coastguards, and requested extradition from Greece of Turkish citizens accused of links with Turkish Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen and his network, which Ankara blames for carrying out 15 July 2016 coup attempt. Turkish FM Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu 4 Nov reiterated that Ankara would not backtrack from its current positions in Eastern Mediterranean. Similarly, President Erdoğan 9 Nov said that Turkey will increase number of drill ships in Mediterranean and Black Sea, adding that “whatever is found will be extracted”. After review of framework for “restrictive measures” in response to Turkey’s “unauthorised drilling activities” in Eastern Mediterranean, European Council 11 Nov adopted decision extending regime for one year until 12 Nov 2022; EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell agreed to Greek-Republic of Cyprus proposal to consider imposition of measures against Turkey at Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Dec.

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