Erdoğan’s regional gamble may turn into catastrophe for energy, trade

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's bold moves in the eastern Mediterranean, whose hydrocarbon deposits promise rich returns, could lead to a catastrophe for global energy routes and trade, Cyril Widdershoven, a Middle East energy and risk analyst, said on Sunday.

"A military conflict in the region, involving Turkey, will threaten several major commodity and trade chokepoints," Widdershoven said in an analysis for

Turkey stepped up its military support to Libya's United Nations-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in December 2019 in its fight against forces allied to rebel General Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), which is backed by Russia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), France and Egypt, among others.

Turkey’s military intervention came after Ankara signed a maritime demarcation deal with the GNA on Nov. 27, intended to give Turkey enhanced hydrocarbon drilling rights in the eastern Mediterranean, "putting Ankara on a full collision course with Cyprus, Egypt, and Greece," Widdershoven said. 

A military conflict in the region would threaten several major commodity and trade checkpoints, including the Dardanelles, the Suez Canal, and the route between Libya and the southern Italian islands, according to the analyst.

"Ankara’s regional power play is not only of concern to the littoral states of the East Med, but also to GCC oil and gas exporters and EU-Asian trade," he said.