A forum of friendship

About a month ago, the so-called Philia Forum was held in Athens.

Besides the host, representatives of Cyprus, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt were present, and a French colleague was connected via livestream. The dominant theme was probably not the philia, the friendship, but rather the country that is now perceived as a threat by more and more states: Turkey.

Greece, Cyprus and Israel, which did not take part in the meeting caused by the Arab presence, are already working closely together in the energy sector and trying to involve Egypt. Whether this will succeed is questionable, however, as there have recently been more talks with Ankara.

The Arab nations of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain now also see Turkey as one of the biggest challenges, and this concerns both geopolitical and ideological aspects, since Erdogan is increasingly claiming leadership within the Sunni Muslim world.

And France is always at odds with Turkey, which challenges its traditional claim to hegemony in the eastern Mediterranean. This erupts in periodic disputes, be it over Mohammed cartoons in French magazines or the declaration of the massacres of Armenians committed by the Ottomans during the First World War as a genocide.

Apparently, many states in the region are interested in deepening cooperation to counter Turkish claims.

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