Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Turkey needs a Cyprus crisis

Cypriot media has been reporting today that  initial investigations being carried out by Noble Energy in the Aphrodite field – Block 12 (of 13) in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone – reveal much larger deposits of natural gas than expected.

Even though this is still media speculation and official results of the drilling won’t be released until December, what is clear is that these finds, along with those in Israel’s EEZ, pose a threat to Turkey’s stated hegemonic ambitions in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey is limited in what it can do to prevent Israel and Cyprus spoiling its neo-Ottoman dreams. International law is not on Turkey’s side, Israel is a powerful country with even more powerful allies, and Turkey’s overtures to Egypt and Lebanon to overturn EEZ agreements with Cyprus have, so far, proved unsuccessful and, particularly in the case of Egypt, are unlikely to yield results in the future.

Regarding Cyprus, Turkey has said it will not stop by force the natural gas drilling taking place; rather it will set up, in fields it has identified as belonging to its puppet state in occupied northern Cyprus, the so-called ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’, rival drilling operations. To this end, Turkey has sent out the research vessel Piri Reis for hydrocarbon exploration in and around Cyprus’ EEZ and has also intensified its naval presence around Cyprus and in the Eastern Mediterranean generally.

Two points:
Turkey’s attempt to set up a rival drilling operation on behalf of the ‘TRNC’ is somewhat laughable. Turkey has neither the expertise or resources to explore for and exploit Cypriot natural gas. Turkey would need foreign firms to help it carry out any drilling; but it is unlikely that any significant player would want to be part of the illegal plundering of a sovereign government’s natural resources. Similar issues of cost and legality would dog Turkey throughout any export process.

The assumption has to be, therefore, that Turkey is not serious about ‘rival drilling’. Rather, its plan is to create an atmosphere of crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean, which would alarm the EU and US, scare off investors and put a stop to the drilling being conducted by the Cyprus government.

The problem for Turkey is that its attempts so far to engender a crisis have not had the desired effect, with the US government and the EU refusing to urge Nicosia to halt its activities. But having started down this road, Turkey will not turn back and is left with only one option, which is to intensify its efforts to cultivate a Cyprus crisis and escalate the potential for military confrontation.


Hermes said...

Watch for the fast approaching economic crisis in Turkey. Ironically, Erdogan has followed the Greek blueprint by implementing massive wealth transfers to his constituencies in Anatolia driven by poor lending practices and foreign borrowing. Leading indicators are telling: the Turkish lira has nosedived relative to other emerging market currencies and the equity market has followed suit. The banking system is screwed and brokers are putting sells on previous darlings like Garanti and Akbank. To restore confidence in the economic outlook Erdogan has to put the brakes on but then he will lose his constituencies when they realise that their new found economic wealth, and Turkey the economic superpower, was largely built on credit rather than productive utilisation of labour and capital.

John Akritas said...

Good. I look forward to it.

Anonymous said...

The "great new power" in the Eastern Mediterranean has been, up to now, completely outmanoeuvred and outclassed by little Cyprus. Just don't bet against them doing something crazy to get their hands on the prize, especially if Hermes' observations come to fruition. Got to laugh at their bull crap about wanting to protect "Turkish Cypriots' rights" and being "worried" about how a peaceful settlement of the Cyprus problem will be affected by the drilling. This US – and formally Jewish – satellite (that's all they are, and the only reason they are where they are today) should park as much of its navy in the Eastern Mediterranean to get a clear view of everything; I want them all to enjoy the sight of Cyprus sticking two fingers to their primitive threats. That's another thing… the way the Turks have handled themselves during this whole period has been beyond embarrassing, though it reflects fairly on their degenerate nature.

lastgreek said...

Turkey is limited in what it can do to prevent Israel and Cyprus spoiling its neo-Ottoman dreams. . . . and Turkey’s overtures to Egypt and Lebanon to overturn EEZ agreements with Cyprus have, so far, proved unsuccessful. . . .

Yes, the Arabs are finally coming to the realization that the Turks are full of it. Too bad the "clever" Greeks can't see this.

Speaking of crises, here's one -- and it's hilarious ... lol -- that caught my attention this afternoon:

Casus Belli? US Accuses Iran Of Plotting Assassination, Attempt To Blow Up Saudi, Israel Embassies

This obviously smells like the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. Let's see how this plays out.