Yesterday, the defense ministers of Israel, Cyprus, and Greece met in Nicosia, where they issued a statement condemning Turkish efforts to impinge on Cyprus’ coastal waters. The summit marks the solidification of a broader coalition—with these three states at its forefront—committed to restraining Ankara’s increasingly aggressive policies. As Oved Lobel explains, both Jerusalem’s warmer relations with the Gulf states, and the discovery of fossil-fuel reserves in the Mediterranean, strengthen this coalition:
The first trilateral meeting between the three countries took place in November 2017, at which stage military cooperation deepened dramatically. Cyprus hosted a trilateral meeting with Israel and Greece earlier this year, and the three countries signed an agreement on deepening even further tripartite military cooperation a month ago. In July, the Greek parliament ratified a further defense agreement with Israel.
[In addition, there] is the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), established officially in Cairo in January 2020. The culmination of major gas discoveries within the [coastal waters] of Israel, Cyprus, and Egypt over the past decade and consequent energy partnerships, the EMGF is meant to serve as a regional forum for energy discussions and policy coordination among all the regional states, except Turkey.
France has applied to join as a full member, with the US participating as a permanent observer. . . . Egypt also announced a second explicitly anti-Turkey coalition consisting of France, Greece, the UAE, Cyprus, and Egypt.
The most important element of all of these partnerships is the strong U.S. backing they have received, and the deepening U.S. political and military support for all the countries involved.