Ankara demands a share – What will happen with EastMed
Two days before the announcement of the drilling results on plot 10, the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, had a meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in an attempt to resume talks on the solution of the Cyprus problem.
The large deposit found at “Glafkos”, however, is considered to be a game changer not only in the energy map of the region, but also in the positions of all sides for the future of Cyprus.
Until Friday night, Ankara did not issue an announcement. Besides, plot 10 is not in the area it considers a Turkish continental shelf. But at any occasion Ankara expresses that the natural wealth of Cyprus should be shared between the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots, and that should happen after the Cyprus problem is resolved. But Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has expressed other formulas such as the collection of hydrocarbon revenues in an international fund or through the EU!
Regarding the Akinci-Anastasiades meeting, most would agree that it was held in “a positive and good climate”, but, as the President of Cyprus said, “this does not mean that there has been a convergence of views with the Turkish Cypriot leader, who sticks to his positions”.
Akinci proposes the transfer of Cypriot gas through Turkey
In an interview with BNT TV network, Akinci expressed the opinion that the Cyprus gas should be transported to Europe via Turkey! “In this region, economic cooperation is needed as in other areas. If a satisfactory quantity of gas is found, the most reasonable route is to reach Europe via Turkey. They themselves agree with this. The international community should pat the back of the Greek Cypriot side. This does not serve peace. Wealth must be exploited jointly. In case of co-operation, the Greek Cypriot side will live friendly with a large 80 million country. Otherwise new tensions will be created. Everything that is needed must be done to protect the rights”.
Turkey’s three theories about its rights to the Eastern Mediterranean’s energy wealth
Turkey considers an important development that the region of the eastern Mediterranean becomes a major source of hydrocarbon resources and considers to have rights for many reasons. Initially it claims the proceeds through the rights of the Turkish Cypriots. Moreover, it considers that its continental shelf is in contact with several areas of plots 4,5,6,7 in which the Republic of Cyprus plans to drill in the following period. There is a strong possibility that Turkey will send its drills to these areas.
In addition, the Turkish Petroleum Research Society (TPAO) has entered into agreements with the pseudo-state and in the near future research is expected to be carried out in the northern area of the island. At the same time, Ankara has prevented ENI from conducting surveys at the “Soupia” site on Plot 8. Although Turkey has no direct rights in the region, it invokes the contract with the so-called “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” that has granted exploratory rights to that plot.
Ankara counts its strengths
Turkey does not ignore the fact that it has little or no diplomatic relations with Egypt, Israel and the Republic of Cyprus, which have found significant gas fields. However, it argues that the gas will reach Europe in a fast and more cost-effective way through its territories. As such, Turkey pushes in every way to secure a share of the energy wealth as Ankara thinks that the energy future of the country is at stake.
The possibility of the construction of the terminal concerns all the countries of the region and, as stated by the Minister of Energy of the Republic of Cyprus, Giorgos Lakkotropis, the first say for the construction of a liquefaction terminal belongs to the companies, which “at the end of the day will invest the money”.
“All options are considered at the same time. The only thing that is certain is the exploitation of Aphrodite (the other deposit) towards Egypt. If Aphrodite will be exploited it will be towards Egypt. With Israel, discussions are ongoing and are not related to trade negotiations. We should make Eastern Mediterranean competitive”, Lakkotrypis said.
So far, the project for the construction of the Natural Gas pipeline is not being discussed intensely as it is considered a costly project, whose construction is not an easy task.
The strong presence of the Turkish Navy with the exercise “Blue Homeland”, performing drills simultaneously in the Black Sea, the Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea is considered a demonstration of power and a message that Turkey should not be ignored in the energy game of the region, but also in the energy security. Besides, Turkey argues that it has the largest fleet of the three countries that have found resources in the eastern Mediterranean./IBNA