Turkey tensions weighing on East Med

Turkey’s ongoing push for hydrocarbons exploration around the breakaway nation of Northern Cyprus has led tensions to mount between countries with overlapping oil and gas interests in the Eastern mediterannean.

Turkey has threatened to send a fourth survey ship to the waters around Cyprus, following a decision by the European Union to impose sanctions on Ankara over their hydrocarbon exploration.

Turkey has maintained that it has a right do drill around Northern Cyprus, a breakaway nation that recognized only by Ankara.

“If you [the EU] take such decisions against Turkey, we will increase activities. We already have three ships in the Eastern Mediterranean and will send a fourth as soon as possible,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said. 

EU nations and the United States have sought to push back against Turkish and Russian influence in the East Med. 

To that end, the US joined a meeting of East Med nations, Cyprus, Israel, Greece and Egypt, in late July.

Turkey, and Lebanon for that matter, have not participated in the Eastern Mediterannean Gas Forum, a project launched earlier this year to form a regional gas market that includes Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan and the Palestinians.

Both countries are also not participating in ongoing discussions between Israel, Greece and Cyprus over East Med gas pipeline project, which would span from Israel, through Cyprus, and on to Greece, arcing around Lebanon and Turkey.

Photo source: Navy Times website 

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