The Eastern Mediterranean Power bloc of Israel, Greece and Cyprus have in a joint presser announced that after the 9th Trilateral Summit in Nicosia, they shall invite India in a 3+1 format. The invitation is sent to India so they can enhance energy and economic cooperation as well as work together on strategic interests and counterterrorism.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis expressed a keen interest in forming a natural gas export partnership with India. He said India will be invited to the bloc in the trilateral summit, which will take place next year. Gas exploration and transport were also a major part of PM Modi’s meeting with the Greek PM.
With the region being strategically important and rich in natural gas and riddled with maritime territorial disputes, the Eastern Mediterranean is turning into a hotbed of geopolitical activity and with India slowly entering the region by becoming the part of the bloc, it is like directly challenging Turkey.
The Eastern Mediterranean is riddled with maritime territorial disputes with Turkey asserting its claim beyond the waters assigned to it under UNCLOS which is a treaty signed by more than 167 countries which Turkey rejects outright and seeks control over several Greek islands and the territorial waters around them in the Aegean Sea. Turkey’s claims extend further into the Eastern Mediterranean in a dispute with Cyprus.
Ahead of the G20 summit in New Delhi which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be attending, Turkey has received back-to-back setbacks from India as India is making inroads into Turkey’s backyard against the hostile nature of Turkey towards India.
Turkey has formed a strategic and collaborative relationship with Pakistan, adopting the rogue nation’s model of using terrorism as a strategic tool. Turkey vehemently supports Pakistan’s claim on India’s Jammu and Kashmir and has previously attempted to tarnish India’s image at global forums including the United Nations.
Turkey is also working with Pakistan on a radicalisation project targeting Indian Muslims especially those in Jammu & Kashmir and Kerala. Turkish weapons have also been found on Pakistani terrorists in Kashmir reeking of a deep partnership between Islamabad and Ankara.
Turkish NGOs are also allegedly providing financial support, ostensibly through Zakat charity donations during Ramazan, to entities involved in activities opposing India in the region of Jammu and Kashmir. Turkey has also been put on the FATF grey list due to reports on terror financing at the hands of the Erdogan government. It is not just accused of using ISIS terrorists to do its regional bidding, but it emerged in 2022 that a social organisation, Turkey Youth Foundation (TUGVA), which is run by the family of President Erdogan, was recruiting and training youths for “covert” missions in India, Russia and China.