It seems that a new crisis is brewing in the Mediterranean… and happening much sooner than expected. Cyprus announced that it will begin drilling for natural gas and oil at the end of September, or by the first week of October at the latest. This has angered Turkey, since its Foreign Minister yesterday took a whip and after slapping it on the table said that Turkey will react in an appropriate manner if Cyprus moves ahead with the drilling.
More precisely Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, on Friday said that his country was ready to show the “necessary response” to Cyprus if the divided island goes ahead plans to start exploratory drilling for gas and oil deposits. Davutoglu was quoted by reporters as saying that Cyprus had no right to go ahead with efforts to search for gas before a settlement to reunify the divided island is reached.
He did not say what Turkey’s response would be.
Cyprus has been split since being invaded by Turkey in 1974.
Turkey opposes the Greek Cypriot government’s search for offshore gas saying it disregards Turkish Cypriots’ rights. It also believes the search would damage long-running talks aimed at reunification.
Throughout the past, Turkey has not hesitated to even send warships when it deemed necessary in the seas surrounding Cyprus, such as research vessels that either harass and/or impede the investigations.
Davutoglu’s statement was followed by another statement by the Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz and leader of the invaded side of Cyprus Dervis Eroglu.
They rushed to declare that any “decisions on Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) may only be taken via a consensus among all the neighbouring countries” and that this process has not reached its completion… as of yet. The leader of the invaded side added that natural resources in the sea area of Cyprus do not only belong to Greek Cypriots.
This geopolitical game now looks more like the “chicken and the egg game” rather than anything else. The players are indeed many; first and foremost, the US, then France and in the far distance Russia.
The company expected to begin drilling is American backed (as suspected), so it automatically falls under the protection of the sixth fleet. Therefore Ankara is going to have to first answer to the US for the triangular relationship between Greece and Cyprus and Israel, before anything else.
France, who wants to be the successor of Britain in this area, is also expected to play a key role. They will not hesitate to send a squadron of the French fleet to support their “want-to-be partner” Cypriot friends. The anti-Turkish sentiments of the French people would welcome this move much more than they have the bombing of Libya.
On its part, Russia has already sent a clear warning to Ankara about Cyprus, with an official statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow but it is not certain that it can carry power here in the classical sense. They already have nuclear submarines in the area said a report on Greece’s defencenet.gr site, but not the type of vessels that will “scare” Ankara, nonetheless it wants a share of the deposits as well.
“Russia called on the Prime Minister of Turkey to respect the resolutions of the UN Security Council and not to recognize any Cypriot state other than the Cyprus Republic. “We have noticed the quite harsh statements by Erdogan on the situation in Cyprus during the visit carried out in the north of the island,”- said the official spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry of Russia Alexandr Lukasevic. “The Russian Federation supports the strict compliance by all member states of the UN of the adopted decisions on any issue at global or regional level, including on Cyprus, -pointed out Lukasevic. (Click here to read the rest of this article)