The conflict over gas in the eastern Mediterranean is intensifying. In February, the first case of intervention by the Turkish navy took place in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Cyprus. Last month, two more flashpoints appeared.
The dispute concerns gas blocks, i.e. areas into which waters around Cyprus have been divided. Turkey does not recognize the government in Nicosia or its agreements regarding EEZ. Ankara thinks that the right to extract gas should also be exercised by the Turkish Cypriots and also by Turkey in the case of Blocks 4, 5, 6, and 7, through which – according to Ankara – passes the Turkish maritime border (the map below).
At the beginning of October, Cyprus put gas extraction in the disputed Block 7 out to tender,1) which the Gefira Team has reported on.2) In response to this, in the middle of the same month, Turkey sent an exploration ship assisted by four naval vessels and began exploration in the area of 44 thousand km2, including blocks 4 and 5.3) Nicosia and Athens consider it a violation of the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus.4) On October 18, another event took place: Greece reported that the Turkish ship had entered the Greek continental shelf, which provoked Athens to send in the frigate Nikiforos to drive the Turks out.5)
We expect that the conflict over gas around Cyprus will intensify because Turkey needs its own energy resources to reduce the trade deficit caused by the increase in the costs of the gas and oil imports.
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|1.||↑||Cabinet looking for gas licensees for Block 7, Cyprus Mail, 2018-10-03.|
|2.||↑||Déjà vu: the gas conflict around Cyprus is getting worse, Gefira 2018-10-08.|
|3, 7.||↑||Barbaros to continue explorations in Mediterranean, Turkish energy minister says, Cyprus Mail 2018-10-19.|
|4.||↑||Turkish navy stops Greek frigate ‘harassment’, Navtex borders Cyprus’ offshore blocks 4 and 5, Cyprus Mail, 2018-10-18.|
|5.||↑||Turkey challenges Greek continental shelf, claims “frigate harassed Barbaro, Keep Talking Greek 2018-10-18.|
|6.||↑||Italy sends frigate to Cyprus’s EEZ, Ekathimerini 2018-02-13.|
|8.||↑||Erdoğan says Turkey will take ‘necessary measures’ in east Med, if needed, Ekathimerini 2018-10-20.|
|9.||↑||Turkey ups ante in Eastern Med over oil and gas, Ekathimerini 2018-10-25.|