NICOSIA – If gas is found in the East Mediterranean, where Turkey is drilling in Cypriot waters in defiance of soft European Union sanctions, supplies from any sources should flow through waters off the occupied side of the island, its leader Ersin Tatar said.
He said that could be an alternative for the EU’s reliance on Russian oil and gas which is still coming, exempted from sanctions over Russia’s invasion of oil and gas, the bloc needing the energy.
Speaking to Turkey’s daily Milliyet, the hardline Tatar – who has rejected reunification of the island divide by unlawful 1974 Turkish invasions, instead demading recognition – said gas from Israel and Egypt, who’ve made deals with Greece and Cyprus – must go through the occupied side’s waters.
The EastMed project has stalled since the United States pulled its backing in what critics said was trying to appease Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said he will also send an energy research vessel and warships off Greek islands in an energy hunt.
Tatar noted the obstacles for EastMed and told the paper that, “If natural gas is to be brought to the EU from Israel, Egypt and that region, it is much easier to get it through Cyprus. The distance between Cyprus and Turkey is only 65 kilometers, (40.3 miles,)” Tatar said.
“(Such a route) necessarily passes through the maritime jurisdiction of Turkish-Cyprus,” he said, adding that such a plan would elevate the self-declared republic that no other country in the world recognizes.
Stating it would be better if the said energy route touches the Karpaz Cape of the island as it will bring new investments to the region, Tatar pointed out that Turkish-Cyprus will “definitely be involved in the project” even if it does not pass through Karpaz, without explaining how.
Turkey refused to go along with EU sanctions against Russia over the invasion of Ukraine, which drove up energy costs around the world and showed bloc’s reliance on Russia, banks there dealing with oil and gas exempted from any penalties.