West lacks leverage over Turkey - columnist
24 March 2018
However, as Russia’s relations with the West are at a low ebb, there is little prospect that Russian pressure on Turkey will benefit the West. “As long as this situation continues,” says Kostandaras, “Turkey will be able to act as if in its own. Source
Turkey to send own drilling ship to Cyprus
22 March 2018
Turkey’s state-run news agency Anadolu said Erdoğan made the comments in a speech referring to Cyprus where he pledged to develop energy resources alongside the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north of the island that Turkish troops invaded in 1974. Turkey is alone in recognising the Turkish Cypriot administration, while the rest of the world recognises the Greek Cypriot government of the Republic of Cyprus as having sovereignty over the whole island.
Turkey says deals between international energy companies and the Republic of Cyprus do not recognise the rights of Turkish Cypriots to a share in the potential wealth and in the decision-making process of how the work should proceed. Cyprus hopes gas finds might spur Turkish Cypriots towards talks to reunite the island.
The U.S. Navy has sent an amphibious assault ship to Cyprus as two exploration vessels leased by ExxonMobil are also docked at the island preparing to drill offshore.
Cypriot government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou told the Guardian: “We cannot accept Turkey interfering and creating problems in what, as underlined by the EU, is a sovereign right to exploit our natural wealth.” Source
U.S. Navy assault ship arrives in Cyprus amid energy row
19 March 2018
Turkey says the exploration for potentially large gas reserves off Cyprus should take into account what it says are the rights of Turkish Cypriots in a breakaway state in the northern third of the island that Turkish troops invaded in 1974.
Turkey is alone in recognising the Turkish Cypriot administration, while the rest of the world recognises the Republic of Cyprus as having sovereignty over the whole of the island.
Iwo Jima is one of the largest amphibious warships in the world, with 2,500 U.S. Navy personnel on board. It carries 30 helicopters and six to eight fighter aircrafts.
Currently, two vessels leased by ExxonMobil are also at Limassol. Ocean Investigator, arrived at Cyprus on Wednesday. A second vessel, the Med Surveyor, arrived on Thursday. The two ships are due to carry out hydrocarbon exploration in block 10 of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Cyprus will continue its search for gas in the Mediterranean despite Turkish opposition, Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has said.
The Turkish Navy prevented an exploration vessel leased by Italian energy firm Eni from drilling off Cyprus last month, despite protests from the European Union and the United States.
Reacting to the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell’s visit to Cyprus on Friday, Turkey said in a statement that it “demonstrated once more the reasons why negotiations on the Cyprus question remain fruitless”. Source
Exxon ship arrives in Cyprus during standoff with Turkey
14 March 2018
The ship is due to carry out hydrocarbon exploration in block 10 of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ). A second vessel, the Med Surveyor, will arrive on Thursday, the Cyprus Mail reported .
Exxonmobil plans to carry out exploration ahead of possible drilling in the second half of the year. But Turkey blocked similar efforts by Italian energy company Eni last month, saying Turkish Cypriots in an unrecognised enclave in Cyprus’ north should get an immediate share of the revenue.
U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus Kathleen Doherty said on Wednesday that Washington does not expect Turkey to cause any problems for the two vessels in Cyprus’ EEZ, the Cyprus Mail said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reiterated in a speech on Wednesday that gas exploration off Cyprus should not take place without the involvement of Turkish Cyprus.
Ocean Investigator will remain at Cyprus’ Limassol port until March 24 to load equipment, but it might depart earlier depending on progress, the newspaper reported citing a company official.
Earlier this month, the U.S. military said it had bolstered the presence of its Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean, raising speculation that U.S. ships would escort the vessels during their work. Source
U.S. says Turkey won't meddle in Cypriot gas search
14 March 2018
Doherty spoke as an exploration vessel leased by U.S. energy giant ExxonMobil docked in the Cypriot port of Limassol in preparation for drilling off the divided island. Turkish warships twice blocked a similar ship leased by Italian energy company Eni this year. Turkey says any energy wealth must be shared with breakaway Turkish Cypriots in the north of the island.
"The United States has consistently reiterated its support for the Republic of Cyprus’ right to develop its resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone,” Doherty told a news briefing.
"At the same time, we have noted that we believe the island’s oil and gas resources, like all of its resources, should be equitably shared between both communities in the context of an overall settlement,” she said.
According to Kathimerini, the US Ambassador to Cyprus Kathleen Doherty underlined Washington's support for Nicosia's right to explore and develop oil resources in its economic zone and, regarding Exxon's drilling in the region, said she did not anticipate any problems from Turkey.
Turkey is alone in recognising the breakaway Turkish Cypriot government in the north of the island after invading the area in 1974. The rest of the world recognises the Republic of Cyprus as sovereign over the whole island.
Doherty said “a just and settling settlement” between two communities on the island, would facilitate the development of energy resources and ensure they benefit all Cy Source
Turkey is increasing its presence in the Cyprus offshore
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said this week in Ankara that “The natural riches surrounding the island of Cyprus is the common wealth of all the people who live on the island. Yıldırım also added that any provocative efforts for gas exploration in the region will be responded in an “appropriate fashion”.
Today, Ekathimerini reports that ahead of exploration activities by American oil giant Exxon, Turkish authorities have boosted their presence in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), dispatching the frigate Barbaros and three corvettes.
Meanwhile , one of the two ExxonMobil research vessels, Ocean Investigator, departed from Greece on Sunday and is headed towards Limassol port. The second one Med Surveyor is located off port Haifa, on Sunday. Both vessels are scheduled to carry out explorations in block 10 of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) untill April 20.
The Greek and Cypriot governments are watching closely the developments in the region, ahead of the meeting of Turkish and the European leaders to take place on March 26 in Varna, Bulgaria. If the tension continues to increase, Greece and Cyprus are likely to veto this meeting. Source
Cyprus to complain to UN over Turkey gas blockade
The Republic of Cyprus is expected to lodge a protest with the United Nations over moves by Turkey to prevent an Italian vessel from exploring for gas in the eastern Mediterranean.
Greek media group SKAI reported that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Republic of Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades discussed the matter in a phone call on Tuesday after Turkey had renewed until March 10 a navigational telex (Navtex) that said the site of the potential gas reserves would be used for a military exercise.
The last Navtex was to expire on Thursday. Turkey has used the notice to prevent the Saipem 12000, an exploration vessel belonging to the Italian energy firm ENI, from entering “Block 3” which lies between the island of Cyprus and Egypt.
Control of the island of Cyprus is split between the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus and the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognised only by Turkey.
Turkey has sought to prevent exploration of gas in waters around the island. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu this month said a deal between Egypt and the Republic of Cyprus to create an exclusive economic zone in waters between the two countries would contravene the “inalienable rights” of Turkish Cypriots to benefit from the island’s resources. Source
Greek Cyprus urges Turkey to end gas standoff, resume talks
Turkish ‘cold-blooded’ stance stops Cyprus gas clash
The “cold-blooded approach” of Turkey and Turkish Cyprus is preventing a conflict over the unilaterla exploitation of gas reserves by Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Kudret Özersay said.
The Greek Cypriot government will no longer be permitted to continue with natural gas exploration without the permission of Turkish Cyprus, he said , according to Hurriyet Daily News.
“They cannot continue before the Cyprus issue is settled, or, if it would not be possible, without reaching an understanding with the Turkish Cypriot side,” Özersay said in a written statement on Monday.
“Unfortunately, Greek Cyprus’ membership to the EU occurred in the same manner. We are intent on not allowing a similar development to take place on the issue of natural gas,” he said, according to the newspaper.
The ethnic Greek part of Cyprus joined the European Union on May 1, 2004 without the Turkish Cypriot community in the north of the island after Greek Cypriots voted against uniting the island in a public referendum approved by the Turkish side.
Natural gas exploration off the island has become a point of contention with both Greeks and Turks laying claim to undersea territories where the gas is present. Source
U.S. giant Exxon sending two drilling ships to Cyprus
The US oil giant ExxonMobil announced that plans to send two surveying vessels to Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone despite the ongoing dispute, which also extends to the waters around Cyprus.
Turkey’s naval blockade near Cyprus continued preventing the Italian energy company Eni from drilling in the Cypriot exclusive economic zone for the seventh consecutive day yesterday. Reuters quoted Claudio Descalzi, Eni CEO, saying about the situation; “It’s not really under our control." Source