Turkish side ups ante in gas word war

Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side upped the rhetoric on Monday with regard to Cyprus’ energy plans with warning messages to the government coming from both the north and from Ankara, one of which was also directed at Athens.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying on Monday by Turkish Cypriot news outlet Bayrak that the Cyprus government’s energy plans were doomed to fail.

According to the report, Erdogan said Turkey would continue to “respond firmly to impositions” in the Eastern Mediterranean both “in the field” and diplomatically.

Referring to the RoC’s energy plans, he added: “We are saddened by their unilateral hydrocarbon explorations in the Eastern Mediterranean that are doomed to fail.”

“Everyone will see and understand in the end that these attempts that continue to disregard our country and our brotherhood will end in failure,” he added.

The message from the north came from Turkish Cypriot ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay who, in the second part of an interview with Phileleftheros published on Monday, said Turkey would react to the drilling later this year by US energy giants ExxonMobil, even if there are ongoing Cyprus talks.

Ozersay said there were areas of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone claimed by Ankara, both on its own behalf and on behalf of Turkish Cypriots. Turkey would also proceed with its own drilling in areas it lays claim to that have been licensed out by the Cyprus government.

The Turkish vessel Fatih is due to drill in the Eastern Mediterranean on October 29 but an exact location has not been revealed.

Exxon is to drill later this year in block 10, which until now had not been claimed by Ankara.

However, Ozersay argued that a section of block 10 is located in an area where Turkish Cypriots also have rights, he said, and their plans would not be affected by any ongoing talks. The leaders are due to meet on Friday but negotiations have not officially resumed.

“I have heard hundreds of times the Greek Cypriots declare that their energy plans will continue. So will ours,” said Ozersay.

Meanwhile Turkey’s advisor for economic affairs, Yigit Bulut warned that a “heated dispute” between Greece and Turkey in the Mediterranean would lead to a military disaster for Greece, CNA reported. Bulut said Turkey’s military force in the Mediterranean was three times greater than that of Greece.
In an article in the Turkish newspaper Star, Bulult said Greece, Nicosia and Israel are pursuing a “dirty game” in the Mediterranean, thinking that they have the “big brothers” behind them.

Last Thursday the Turkish navy said it stopped a Greek frigate from ‘harassing’ the Turkish seismic vessel Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa, which was skirting blocks in Cyprus’ EEZ south west of the island

It also said Turkey would continue to exercise its sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its continental shelf.

“We recommend that Greece abstain from acts that would cause an escalation in the region,” the ministry said in a statement.

A Greek defence source denied there was an incident but said the Greeks were monitoring the activity of the Barbaros. Turkey had issued a Navtex, an advisory to ships including coordinates, that it would be conducting seismic surveys in the Mediterranean from October 18 to February 1.

Source: Cyprus Mail