Greece eyeing closer cooperation with regional countries amid East Med tensions with Turkey

Athens is looking to expand trade, energy, and military partnerships with Israel and other countries in the region amid a dispute with neighbouring Turkey over hydrocarbon resource in the eastern Mediterranean, AP reported on Tuesday.

Greece, Israel and Cyprus, all of which are at odds with Turkey over the disputed waters in the region, on Tuesday pledged to increase cooperation in areas that include a planned electricity grid interconnection between Israel, Cyprus and the Greek island of Crete by undersea cable by the end of 2023, the agency said.

Greece and Turkey have long disagreed on overlapping claims on hydrocarbon resources in the region, with both sides holding conflicting views of how far their continental shelves extend in the waters.

Turkey’s aggressive gas exploration efforts in the region since this summer are threatening to exacerbate existing fault lines in the region. 

"Our region is not going back to the 19th century," the newspaper cited Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias as saying after meeting in Athens with his Israeli and Cypriot counterparts, Gabi Ashkenazi and Nikos Christodoulides.