Conflicts between Turkey and Greece

Context: Recently, Turkey and Greece have locked horns twice after Turkey converted the 1,500-year-old Hagia Sophia from a museum into a mosque and then over who gets to explore hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean.


  • In February 2020, Turkey had allowed thousands of migrants to cross the border into Greece and the European Union.
  • The two nations continue to oppose each other on the decades-old Cyprus conflict and on two occasions have almost gone to war over exploration rights in the Aegean Sea.
  • The centuries-old Hagia Sophia, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, was originally a cathedral in the Byzantine Empire before it was turned into a mosque in 1453.
  • For 40 years, Turkey and Greece have disagreed over rights to the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea, which covers significant oil and gas deposits.
  • On July 21, Turkey announced that the drilling ship Oruc Reis would be exploring a disputed part of the sea for oil and gas.
  • Turkey is bounded by the Aegean Sea in the west, by the Mediterranean Sea in the south and by the Black Sea in the north.
  • The country is bordered by Armenia, Iran, and Azerbaijan (exclave of Nakhchivan) in the east, by Georgia in the northeast, by Bulgaria and Greece in the northwest, and by Iraq, and Syria in the southeast.
  • Turkey shares maritime borders with Cyprus, Egypt, Northern Cyprus, Romania, Russia and Ukraine.
  • There are two narrow straits in northwestern Turkey, the Bosporus, which connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles, which connect the Aegean arm of the Mediterranean Sea with the Sea of Marmara.
  • Greece is a country in South Eastern Europe on the southern part of the Balkan Peninsula, bordering the Mediterranean Sea in south and the Ionian Sea in west.
  • Greece is bordered by Albania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Republic of Macedonia, and it shares maritime borders with Cyprus, Egypt, Italy and Libya.

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