Turkey has begun exploring for gas off the Cyprus coast in a move that is sharpening a dispute over resources and may threaten Turkey’s desire to join the EU as well as peace talks between the two countries.
The Turks say the exploration ship is being escorted by naval vessels.
Cyprus was divided by a Turkish 1974 invasion of the north. While the ethnic Greek south is internationally recognised, only Turkey recognises the Turkish Cypriot north. There is the constant worry that violence could flare up and ruin UN-sponsored peace talks, staggering on since 2008. So why is Turkey taking such a forceful approach now?
“Turkey can not just sit back and observe what is happening. We also have economic interests. We will use our right to search for oil in these waters,” says Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc.
The discovery of huge gas deposits in the waters of Cyprus saw the Turkish research ship Piri Reis put out from Izmir a few days ago. The vessel aims to explore further off the northern shore of the island, some 80 kilometres from where the Greek Cypriots are drilling.
This was Ankara’s response to a decision by the Nicosia government of Cyprus, which alone represents the divided island as a member of the European Union, to forage in the exclusive economic zone. This was established following a deal struck with Israel. The company in charge of the job is Texas-based Noble Energy.
Cyprus has been split since Turkey invaded in response to a short-lived coup by Greek Cypriots, and has stationed a permanent garrison there for more than 30 years.
Turkey opposes internationally recognised Cyprus exploiting the gas find in the absence of an agreed unification plan.
Israel made the discovery with the US firm, between its and Lebanon’s coasts and Cyprus, naming the undersea find ‘Leviathan’, after a Biblical sea monster. Noble started working on it earlier this month.
The question of who has the right to the gas is keenly disputed. The head of one of Noble’s Israeli partners, Delex Energy, explained the impact Leviathan could have: “It’s the largest natural gas off-shore discovery in the world in the last decades. And obviously, talking about the state of Israel it’s even more significant because that could be the foundation for an export project of natural gas from the state of Israel either to Europe or to Asia.”
Right now Cyprus and Israel’s relations with Turkey are bad. Turkey’s EU accession process is blocked over Cyprus. Ankara has said unless this is solved by the time Cyprus takes the rotating EU presidency next year, Turkey will stop dealing with the EU.
The gas find is economically and politically volatile in an already unstable region.
- 1Chomsky says US is world’s biggest terrorist
- 2Unverified video appears to show ISIL killing of 30 Ethiopian Christians
- 3More Mediterranean deaths as desperate migrants head to Europe
- 4U.S. Navy sends two more warships near Yemen as conflict escalates
- 5‘More powerful than a nuke’: Kim Jong-un refreshed after ‘climbing highest peak’
- 1euronews live TV - News | euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 2Chomsky says US is world’s biggest terrorist | euronews, the global conversation
- 3Chomsky – a rebel with a cause | euronews, world news
- 4[LIVE] Germanwings passenger jet crashes in southern France, 148 people on board – authorities | euronews, world news
- 5Europe is ‘bluffing’ over Greece-Russia relations – analyst | euronews, news
- 6French Alps plane crash treated as suicide and mass murder by co-pilot | euronews, world news
- 7Why is Bulgaria the EU’s most unhappy country? | euronews, world news
- 8International tv news | euronews: European and International tv news bulletin
- 9eurovibes - a selection of Europe’s best music talent
- 10Former IMF chief ‘under investigation for money laundering’ | euronews, world news
- 11Greece’s claim for war reparations from Germany explained | euronews, world news
- 12International news | euronews, latest international news
- 13Pope Francis washes Rome prisoners’ feet on Holy Thursday | euronews, world news
- 14ECB chief Mario Draghi unhurt after protest during speech | euronews, world news
- 15Woman carries can of water on her head along Paris marathon | euronews, world news
- 16Reaching new heights: Parents in India scale walls to ‘help students cheat’ | euronews, world news
- 17Germanwings press conference mystery: what wasn’t he supposed to say? | euronews, world news
- 18French prosecutor: Germanwings co-pilot appears to have crashed plane deliberately | euronews, world news
- 19[Live updates] France plane crash: damaged black box ‘can provide information’ | euronews, world news
- 20Fighting Boko Haram: Chad aims to ‘destroy’ militant group | euronews, world news
Wires > News
- 04:11 CET Auschwitz bookkeeper set to stand trial in Germany
- 03:34 CET Japanese PM Abe makes ritual offering at Yasukuni shrine
- 01:56 CET Bomb explodes at Spanish embassy in Libyan capital
- 01:50 CET At least five shot during Guinea opposition protests
- 00:34 CET Canada to issue passport to jailed Al Jazeera journalist Fahmy
- 00:26 CET U.S. offers Ukraine $17.7 million in humanitarian aid – White House
- 23:53 CET U.S. Navy sends more warships near Yemen in security move
- 23:48 CET Obama, Abu Dhabi crown prince discuss need for military equipment