Republic of Cyprus is established as a bicommunal state with a Greek majority and a Turkish minority
Cyprus joins the European Union as a member state
Discovery of the Tamar gas field in Israel’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) by a consortium of companies including Noble Energy, Delek Drilling, Isramco, Tamar Petroleum, Dor Gas, and Everest
May: Gaza flotilla raid – Israel conducts a military operation on six Turkish civilian ships of the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” in international waters
December: Discovery of the Leviathan gas field in Israel’s (EEZ) by Noble Energy
Arab uprisings begin
December: Discovery of the Aphrodite gas field in Cyprus’s EEZ by Noble Energy
July: Mohamed Morsi and the Turkish-backed Muslim Brotherhood are deposed from power in Egypt and replaced by the UAE- and Saudi- backed Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
August: Discovery of the Zohr gas field in Egypt’s EEZ by Eni
January: Cyprus, Greece, and Israel hold their first trilateral summit in Nicosia to discuss regional and security issues
July: Military coup attempt takes place in Turkey
June: Qatar diplomatic crisis erupts: Qatar is placed under a blockade by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt. In response Turkey sends military forces to defend the Qatari emir in Doha.
February: Discovery of Calypso gas field in Cyprus’s EEZ by Eni
February: Turkish naval forces block an Eni drillship before it can reach its intended drill site in Cypriot waters, forcing the company to withdraw its vessel
January: The Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) is formed. Its headquarters are located in Cairo and its founding partners are Italy, Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Jordan. The forum is to serve as a platform aimed at developing a regional gas market.
March: The United States participates in the sixth Trilateral Greece-Cyprus-Israel summit. US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and leaders from the three countries sign an agreement on the EastMed pipeline.
April: Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, with the backing of the UAE, begins the siege of Tripoli in Libya.
May: Turkey sends exploration and drill ships into Cypriot waters, each escorted by Turkish warships
May: France signs an agreement with Cyprus to service French warships at Cyprus’s Mari naval base
May: Turkey sends its first drill ship, Fatih, to Cyprus
June: At the annual Med7 summit, seven European countries express strong condemnation of Turkey following its intervention in EU territorial waters. They call on Turkey to “show restraint, respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus, and refrain from any such actions”.
July: First shipment of Russian S-400s arrive in Turkey
July: EU member states unanimously decide to impose sanctions on Turkey over its drilling operations in the eastern Mediterranean
September: Saudi foreign minister Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz al-Assaf visits Cyprus and declares Saudi support for Cypriot sovereignty against Turkish-backed autonomy claims by the Republic of Northern Cyprus
October: The US and Greece sign a new strategic partnership and defence agreement whereby the US is to expand its naval military presence in Greece, including sending a US navy fleet to Cyprus
November: Libya and Turkey delineate their maritime border following increasing pressure on Libya’s government in Tripoli from Haftar’s Russian- and Emirati-backed forces
November: The European Council adopts a framework for restrictive measures in response to Turkey's “unauthorised” drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean. The council concludes that “the framework will make it possible to sanction individuals or entities responsible for, or involved in, unauthorized drilling activities of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean.”
November: Cypriot foreign minister Nikos Christodoulides participates in the Sir Bani Yas Forum and the first trilateral meeting between the UAE-Greece-Cyprus
December: The European Council declares that the Ankara-Tripoli agreement “infringes on the sovereign rights of third States,” and further declares that the EU “unequivocally reaffirms its solidarity with Greece and Cyprus regarding these actions by Turkey”
December: US Congress passes the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act, which authorises new security assistance for Cyprus and Greece, lifts the US arms embargo on Cyprus, and authorises the establishment of a US-Eastern Mediterranean Energy Center
December: Prime minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, travels to Riyadh to meet with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He then travels to Abu Dhabi to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed.
December: France, Italy, and Cyprus conduct a three-day naval exercise off Cyprus’s southern coast
January: Egypt convenes a ministerial-level meeting between Cyprus, France, Greece, and Italy to denounce Turkey’s agreement with Libya and to push for a settlement the crisis in Libya
January: France formally requests membership of the EMGF
January: The Berlin International Conference on Libya takes place
January: Turkey sends exploration vessels close to the new maritime border with Libya
February: EU member states agree to launch a new operation in the Mediterranean to monitor Libya’s UN arms embargo
April: ExxonMobil postpones drilling in Cyprus until 2021
May: The foreign ministers of Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, and the UAE issue a joint declaration “denouncing the ongoing Turkish illegal activities in the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone and its territorial waters, as they represent a clear violation of international law as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea”
May: The European Council calls on Turkey to respect the law of the sea and “the sovereignty of all EU member states over their territorial sea as well as all their sovereign rights in their maritime zones”

A project by the ECFR MENA Programme

Design and development: Objectif.co.uk, Queo.pt, Juan Ruitiña

Editing: Adam Harrison

Cover image: picture alliance/REUTERS

May 2020. ECFR/322. ISBN 978-1-913347-22-2