Turkey Wants Share of Cyprus’ $9 Billion Foreign Energy Deal

FILE - In this photo taken Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, a man walks as an other man sits on a beach during a warm day as a drilling platform is seen in the background, outside from Larnaca port, in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

With tension simmering over Turkey sending energy research vessels and a warship into Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ,) a deal Cyprus made with foreign companies for an underwater pipeline has Turkey saying it will defend the rights of Turkish-Cypriots.

That was in reference to a revised $9 billion contract Cyprus made with the U.S.-based Noble Energy, the Dalek Group of Israel and Royal Dutch Shell which Ankara said was a violation of the rights of Turkish-Cypriots unlawfully occupying the northern third of the island since a 1974 Turkish invasion.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry objected to the contract that covers the distribution of revenues from natural gas exploitation from the Cyprus’s Aphrodite field in the eastern Mediterranean and the transfer of natural gas by underwater pipeline to Egypt’s Idku liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, said the Turkish news site Ahval.

Turkey, the only country in the world that recognizes the occupied territory it seized, disputes the boundaries of the EEZ of Cyprus, a member of the European Union that Turkey wants to join even as it doesn’t recognize the legitimate government and bars Cypriot ships and planes.

Cyprus Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis, the island would earn more than $9 billion in gas revenues over 18 years as a result of the deal with the three energy companies and Turkish-Cypriots want to share in that.

“It is understood that the agreement does not make any reference to the Turkish Cypriots and that Turkish-Cypriots are not allotted any share from the revenues,” the ministry said. Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades had agreed to share potentially lucrative revenues but talks to reunify the island broke down in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said they would never remove a 35,000-strong army and wanted the right to militarily intervene again.

They also said Anastasiades’ offer wasn’t enough and wanted Turkish-Cypriots to take part it the licensing operations of foreign companies, although US giant ExxonMobil has already started drilling and reported finding a major gas field.

Turkey insists that the occupied territory is a legal part of the island. “Therefore, Turkey will maintain its principled and resolute stance to protect the rights of the Turkish-Cypriots, as well as its own rights in the Eastern Mediterranean, and will not hesitate to take the necessary steps for this purpose,” the ministry said.

It wasn’t indicated whether that was a threat to use military force although Anastasiades said he fears Erdogan’s intention is to take control one way or another, either by invasion or taking control of the seas around the island.

The Aphrodite gas field is off the southern coast of Cyprus in block 12 of the country’s maritime EEZ but Turkey said it owns parts of blocks 1, 4, 6 and 7 of the Cyprus EEZ at the same time it refuses to recognize the United Nations’ Law of the Seas.

Turkey sent a drillship to waters well inside the Cyprus EEZ in early May, while Turkey’s energy minister said that a second drillship named would begin drilling off Cyprus by July.

6 Comments

  1. What with Erdogan’s intention to point his S-400s southward toward Cyprus, and the sea, such musings as war sadly become more relevant. Indeed, he has “tossed out a window”, the Treaty of Lausanne, and its alternative, in his mind, is supremacy of the sea. These are, under his conditions, his position from which he speaks of negotiations, and “Peace”.

    Yet, one challenge remains, and that is the Cypriot People themselves, who whether Greek or Turkish remain existing, after decades of being divided as “Greeks” (read: not “Turks”) and “Turks”.

    Mr. Akinci, isolated as he is, has this opportunity to choose not “Turkishness” but Cypriots, in effect to choose to represent the electorate that voted for him. It is a very considerable position to be in, because acting for Cypriots, rather than “Turkishness”, he is the only real opposition Erdogan has. Who would oppose such a stance, if the President and the Leader of the Turkish Constituency shook hands under the Flag of Cyprus? Not Cypriots, indeed, only those exposed as “Greeks” and “Turks” would be opposed.

    Turkey does not want a share of Cyprus’ wealth, she wants it all. Witness the so called TRNC which has no budget, and no Legislature, without Turkey’s assessment in their affairs. I ask, how is it that these “Cypriot Turks” do not benefit from a social-economy at least equal to the “Greeks”? Given that Cyprus is Turkey’s “National” issue, what this means to “Turkishness”, one would not…

    1. I am confused… Turkey already has already represented the interest of Cyprus in 1974! Right!

      Did not Edrogan personally, with Nato ally America and Non Nato dictator Anastasiades recongize the Northern Republic of Cyprus as a legitimate state of the World Body by certifying their rights to share the oil revenues of Cyprus, and defy UN resolutions which expressly do not even recognize that Northern Cyprus even exists!

      So Mr. Akicini could you again do what is in the best interests of the people of Cyprus……and ask what the U.S, Anastasiades and TNH have not done.. IF THEY ARE AWARE OF THE CONSEQUENCE OF PUTTING OIL FACTORIES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MOST PRISTENE WATERS IN THE WORLD.. which can threaten the entire coastal communities of the “Jewel of the Mediterranean”…THE ISLAND COUNTRY OF CYPRUS? OR NOW KNOWN AS THE NATO AIRCRAFT CARRIER!

      So..have you provided the people of Cyprus the right to ban your oil factories from polluting and destroying their way of life and economy?

      EDROGAN, HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTOR STANDING UP TO the Nato dictator of Cyprus , Anastasiades and America IN fulfilling his obligation as guarantor of Cyprus to protect the sovereignty of the people of Cyprus..just by getting approval of the people?

      Just think, .if the people of Cyprus , do what Americans on the ENTIRE.. East and West coasts of America HAVE DONE….which is ban these oil threats to their communities, then Cyprus and you will be left alone!

  2. As soon as it becomes official that Anastasiades is going to turn the pristene waters of Cyprus, into oil producing factories ..which are banned in the Coastal states of the Atlantic and Pacific ocean because of the pollution from the daily oil spills and leakage into the waters, and the threat of massive oil accidents from explosions, sabotage , weather events ..and simply operating consequences which will threaten the pristene beaches, fishing industry, tourist business , hotels , restaurants ..and everyday livelihood of the people of Cyprus… no one will be looking to buy any ocean front properties , condominiums, or coastal resorts in Cyprus!

    I know I have looked with my wife in buying property and homes in the Greek Islands…and on the recommendation of my Greek Cypriots friends.was seriously looking into Cyprus!

    Not going to happen…I am not interested in swimming or fishing in waters with oil residue, or eating fish tainted with oil ,and I mean not olive oil .or watching a parade of Nato battleships representing Exon Mobil and Total, and waiting for what happened to the louisiana and Texas coastline in 2010 which was decimated by just one oil rig ..and resulted in damage of 29 billion dollars and still trying to recover !

    Have the people of Cyprus been notified by Athanastasides to the consequence of his actions?

  3. Today, another two oil tankers has been damaged by explosions, and now adding to the six tankers struck last week… which now pollute the waters!

    As soon as it becomes official that Anastasiades is going to turn the pristene waters of Cyprus, into oil producing factories ..which are banned in the Coastal states of the Atlantic and Pacific ocean because of the pollution from the daily oil spills and leakage into the waters, and the threat of massive oil accidents from explosions, sabotage , weather events ..and simply operating consequences which will threaten the pristene beaches, fishing industry, tourist business , hotels , restaurants ..and everyday livelihood of the people of Cyprus… no one will be looking to buy any ocean front properties , condominiums, or coastal resorts in Cyprus!

    I know I have looked with my wife in buying property and homes in the Greek Islands…and on the recommendation of my Greek Cypriots friends.was seriously looking into Cyprus!

    Not going to happen, I am not interested in swimming or fishing in waters with oil residue, or eating fish tainted with oil ,and I mean not olive oil .or watching a parade of Nato battleships representing Exon Mobil and Total, and waiting for what happened to the louisiana and Texas coastline in 2010 which was decimated by just one oil rig ..and resulted in damage of 29 billion dollars and still trying to recover !

    Neither TNH. or the dictator Anastasiades..are criminally derelict to the people!

    1. Michael, for the record, because I keep seeing your incorrect assertions and misinformation – and I don’t know if you’re doing it on purpose (with an anti-Cypriot agenda) or are one of those ignorant but opinionated people – but what has been found in Cyprus’ EEZ is Natural Gas which consists mainly of Methane. No oil! No spillages! No impact on the wild life or indeed on the (one time) “pristine beaches” etc.

      But what really puzzles me is your attitude of not only acceptance towards Cyprus’ 45 year old invasion, occupation, ethnic cleansing and bullying but you come across as one who prefers the current status quo and prefers that Cyprus stays as a geopolitical back-water, an after thought, which is what has cost it 39% of its territory and made 200,000 of us refugees. I don’t know why but perhaps you enjoy being bent over on your knees and cheerfully begging ‘please be effendi, may I have another’. The rest of us are fed up, frustrated and angry that the occupation has continued un-abated and therefore support every effort that’s been made to rectify that. It is Cyprus’ national problem and one that requires a lot of behind the scenes work and a united population and to that end, I really do not think that your comments are at all helpful.

  4. NATOs eastern border should end in Rojava and the post ww1 geographical miscalculation called ‘modern turkey’ should be balkanised into smaller, more manageable chunks.

    There is no such thing as a ‘turk’ per se; ‘turkishness’ is a mental disorder imposed upon apostate Greco persians and should be dealt with accordingly

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