PRESS AND INFORMATION OFFICE
Columnist Metin Munir, writing in Turkish online newspaper T24 (13.11.18, http://t24.com.tr/yazarlar/metin-munir/dogu-akdenizde-sular-isinmiyor-soguyor,20812), argues that according to reliable sources, Anastasiades reportedly said in a meeting he had with Foreign Minister Cavusoglu a short time ago that he is ready to agree with Ankara to transport gas to Europe through Turkey.
Under the tile “The waters in the Eastern Mediterranean do not warm up, but cool down”, Munir reports that gas will give a great impetus to the solution of the Cyprus problem and contrary to the public opinion, water is not heating up in the Eastern Mediterranean, it is colder, in the following commentary:
“President Erdogan thinks that in international relations, there is no other way but to punch the table and threaten. Lately he turned his anger to the Greek Cypriots and major oil companies. For several years, the Greek Cypriots have been parcelling out their exclusive economic zone in the sea and giving it to the international oil companies with contracts.
(…) Now eyes are turned to the west of the island. In the west, Egypt found an enormous amount of gas in the region neighbouring to the Greek Cypriots. Shortly after, in this neighbouring area, ExxonMobil-Qatar Petroleum partnership will open two wells. Qatar Petroleum is the state-owned company carrying out all oil and gas operations of Qatar.
There are two other companies in the west working for the Greek Cypriots: Italian Eni and French Total.
These activities threaten Erdogan for two reasons:
- · First, according to Ankara, some regions, where gas is sought, are within the economic zone of Turkey and not the Republic of Cyprus.
- · Second, the Turkish Cypriots, namely the TRNC (the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus), have rights in all the sea areas, where the Greek Cypriots have claims. On this issue it is unacceptable for the Greek Cypriots to run the show without the Turks.
The rights of states in the seas are determined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. According to this, the regions where Greek Cypriots claimed rights belong to them. But Turkey has not signed this Convention. She doesn’t feel compelled to recognize the territorial waters of the contract and the boundaries of the continental shelf.
In a world where the thinking ‘might is right’ prevails instead of what is just, it is impossible to predict what happens in the end. But what can Turkey do?
ExxonMobil’s partner in this initiative, which will start drilling operations within a few days, is Qatar, who is the best friend and protector of Erdogan. When Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates last year declared an embargo to Qatar, Turkey sent troops there. It was the first country to penetrate the embargo.
Why didn’t Erdogan want Qatar Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to stay away from Cyprus?
Why doesn’t he want to be pulled out now?
There are no answers to these rules. In fact, I don’t have one either, and I cannot find out because Erdogan will not invite me to a half-billion dollar super-luxury plane that the Emir of Qatar gave him as a gift.
ExxonMobil is the world’s largest oil and Gas Company and is American.
I don’t think that the Turkish navy should try to prevent this company’s activities at sea and Erdogan will start a new fight with Trump, which he fixes with a great effort.
So what is the purpose of this noise?
Unfortunately, I will not be able to enlighten you. Probably for domestic consumption.
The issue of gas is not the same as the propaganda on the Turkish side.
The Greek Cypriots are unaware that they cannot ‘eat’ the gas they will find without satisfying Ankara.
If a large amount of gas is found – which is very likely – they will share their income with the Turks and use it to finance the situation of the Cyprus problem.
According to reliable sources, Anastasiades said in a meeting he had with Foreign Minister Cavusoglu a short time ago that he is ready to agree with Ankara to transport gas to Europe through Turkey.
Gas will give a great impetus to the solution of the Cyprus problem.
Contrary to public opinion, water is not heating up in the Eastern Mediterranean. It is getting colder.”