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Turkey has been interfering with sovereign Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resource under the framework of the EU and the international law. Ankara has stated that it will prevent the Greek Cypriot government from exploring for oil or gas around the divided island. Turkey states that some areas of Cyprus offshore are economic zones that fall under its jurisdiction or Turkish Cypriots.
To block the Greek Cypriots, the Turkish warships were ordered to stop the drilling operations by ENI- an Italian energy company hired by the Cyprus government. Further, Turkey has announced that it will send its own drilling ship to the region imminently.
The European Union leaders have criticized Turkey for ongoing illegal actions in the eastern Mediterranean and Aegean Sea. Turkey has condemned the made statements by the leaders and questioned their objectivity- which has increased tensions before a key summit that is expected to take place soon.
The tension between Turkey and Greece will continue to escalate despite Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras desire for a constructive dialogue to resolve all pending differences between the two countries on March 25.
The potential for the east Mediterranean as a gas-producing pivot has increased. The control over the resources will reshape the energy geopolitics. This will cause the region to transform economically and decrease Europe and Turkey’s reliance on Russia for gas.
Turkey and Greece have a long rocky history with regards to Cyprus. Both countries have a will and power to protect its economic interest and be the key player in the reshaping of energy geopolitics.
Ankara, with reference to the body of international law governing the maritime boundaries and rights to undersea resources, is determined to prevent exploitation of resources without their permission and participation. Turkish president Recep Tayipp Erdogan has made it clear last month that Ankara will not hesitate to take any military action when necessary. Further, Turkish Prime Minister, Binali Yildirim, has stated that “provocative actions will be met with the appropriate response.”
The only resolution to cease the tension between Turkey and Greece is through “equitable solution.” In order for equitable solution prescription to be effective, both nations need to consider all factors that may intervene to achieve a desirable result. Further, it must make sure that all factors that need addressing or reforming do not create inequalities for the other party.