Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Turkey makes clear its ‘strategic interests’ on Cyprus

A quick update on some political developments in Cyprus.

It’s reported here that the occupation regime in northern Cyprus is in the process of agreeing the delineation of an Exclusive Economic Zone with Turkey with a view to Turkey beginning a search off the occupied Cypriot coast for deposits of oil and natural gas.

This move – more symbolic than practical since neither the pseudo-state or Turkey have the resources or legal authority to exploit Cyprus’ natural reserves – is a response to the recent EEZ agreement Cyprus signed with Israel and the confirmation that within the year US firm Noble Energy will begin drilling to determine the extent of hydrocarbon deposits in Cyprus’ territorial waters.

These energy and economic developments in the Eastern Mediterranean are changing strategic relations in the region – particularly the burgeoning Israel-Cyprus-Greece axis – and reinforcing Turkey’s determination to keep hold of its northern Cyprus colony.

The fact that occupied Cyprus is Turkey’s colony has only just struck the Turkish Cypriots, who have been protesting the imposition by Ankara of austerity measures and the continuing influx of Turkish settlers. During a so-called ‘Communal Existence’ rally in occupied Nicosia on 28 January, some Turkish Cypriots called for Turkey to leave the island, which prompted Turkey’s prime minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan to call Turkish Cypriots ‘ungrateful parasites’, who should take note that Turkey has ‘strategic interests’ on the island.

Clearly, Turkey’s perceptions of its ‘strategic interests’ on Cyprus and Turkey’s aspirations to establish itself as the pre-eminent regional power means it will not be abandoning Cyprus any time soon and, indeed, will seek though economic and demographic means to enhance its presence in occupied Cyprus.

Of course, Turkey’s determination to keep hold of northern Cyprus has implications not only for the Republic of Cyprus, but for Greece too. Although Turkey has been trying to convince Greece to remove Cyprus from the list of issues that separates Greece and Turkey and to settle for the status quo on the island, the Greek government has not so far proved entirely compliant. On this and other matters, then, Turkey will continue to see Greece as an impediment to its ambitions in the region and, despite the superficial declarations of détente, the state of cold war between the two countries will continue.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

There are some interesting developments in Cyprus at the moment, what with the protests in the north (which I think the RoC should stoke) and the potential hydrocarbons in the EEZ. Noble said that they would start drilling by the end of this year which is a good development. I look forward to seeing what the Turks reaction will be when/if anything is found. The Israel-Cyprus-Greece 'axis' is also quite promising.

Michael

John Akritas said...

Yes, Michael, we should stoke the TC protests and try to detach them even more from Turkey – though this may be wishful thinking, especially given the fact that the TCs are now overwhelmed by settlers; and I suspect Turkey will issue threats over the gas and oil, but won't do a thing. What can they do – take on the EU, Israel and a US firm openly backed by the US government, as Noble has been? Turkey doesn't have the wherewithal to back up all its bluster.

Anonymous said...

Indeed,

This Cypriot find is an EU energy asset and adds to EU energy security.

This is a whole different ball game.

Dinos of Ellas

Anonymous said...

Till Turkey gets nukes as a second islamic nuke sate after Pakistan add Iran to that list in a few years neither America or Israel can stop that I actually do believe we are watching all the pro American (and by extension pro Israel) mid east dictators fall. Along with American Power and reputation. The Chinese are quitely biding their time analyzing and planning the long term strategy to take Americas place give it 5-10 more years and the realtive decline from 2000-2010 will be replaced with Complete decline by 2020 - 2025 with Asia pulling in the opposite upwards trajectory

lastgreek said...

If the regime in Bahrain falls, I wonder where the Americans are going to park their 5th Fleet.

You know, Mubarak or no Mubarak, Egypt is still a dump ... like Tunisia.

How long before the Arabs start arriving on Greek shores?

Think they'll skip Greece and go straight for France and Italy?

Why don't refugees ever seek refuge in Turkey---that great beacon of democracy if may paraprhase that douchebag of a president Bill Clinton who had a penchant for screwing the hired help?

There are protests in Libya. Gaddafi wants to join the protests, too. He says that he, too, is part of the people ... lol

British citizens are the largest beneficiaries of stolen Cypriot property in occupied northern Cyprus. After the perfidious Brits, who is next, the Israelis? Just asking ...

Btw, there are two illegal, occupying countries in Cyprus: Turkey and Great Britain. Now, if the Israelis come in second to the question I just asked above, then I would like to add another illegal, occupying country in Cyprus: Israel :-)

John Akritas said...

You are right, Dino, about Cyprus' usefulness to EU energy policy. Not that any of this brings any closer an end to the Turkish occupation – which now looks certain to continue for the foreseeable future – but at least the new strategic situation secures the existence and legitimacy of the Republic of Cyprus and makes Turkey pay a higher price than it wants for the occupation.

Anonymous said...

John:

Excellent work on your blog!

Dinos.