With “patriotic statements”, Turkey nurtures the tension in the Eastern Mediterranean after the unsuccessful trip of the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to Washington. Turkey has suffered a new diplomatic defeat in the beginning of this week, when they announced that Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems is a done deal and cannot be canceled and asked from the Americans to extradite 84 people who live in the United States and are tied to Fetullah Gulen, including the self-exiled Gulen himself. The American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made clear from his side that the extradition of Gulen “is not being considered”, demanded that all the American citizens and the Turkish employees of the American Embassy that are kept in Turkish jails to be freed, repeated that the US will not deliver the F-35 while Turkey keeps insisting on the S-400 and underlined one more time that the provocations in the Eastern Mediterranean, where the drillship of ExxonMobil is working in Block 10 of Cyprus’ EEZ, are not accepted.
The embarrassment of the Turks was expressed with rhetoric bravados. Talking at a University in Izmir, Binali Yildirim, the speaker of Turkey’s Grand National Assembly, warned the oil companies that Turkey can intervene and directly act as necessary in the EEZ of Cyprus, accused Greece and Cyprus for violating international law and introduced a strange to the international maritime law Turkish position claiming that “the sea is a common property and heritage of humanity. Therefore, exploitation, appropriation by only one country, one community, has nothing to do with national and international law”.
The Turkish “argument” supports that the Republic of Cyprus, member of the EU and the UN, that Turkey does not recognize and refers to as “Greek Cypriot administration” or “South Cyprus”, cannot exploit unilaterally the hydrocarbon sources in the EEZ south of the island. They say, the Turks, that this is a heritage that belongs to all Cypriots so the Turkish Cypriots must have a part too. However, while they present this point, that has as a prerequisite a unified Cyprus, at the same time they refer to the part of a certain “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”, meaning the self-declared state. So, while they themselves claim that in the occupied north of Cyprus there is a “Turkish state”, that they consider to be separate from the free south, they demand that the North has a stake in the hydrocarbons of the South. In other words, it’s like North Ireland demands a share in the EEZ of the Republic of Ireland. The government of Cyprus responds that all the citizens of the Republic of Cyprus have a share in the hydrocarbons, including the Turkish Cypriots, because it does not recognize the self-declared state and considers the Turkish Cypriots occupied Cypriot citizens. However, as long as Turkey insists that there is a self-declared state in the occupied North, this state obviously cannot claim share in another state’s sources, in this case the Republic’s of Cyprus, nor have a saying in what happens in the free EEZ south of Cyprus. Obviously, the Turkish Cypriots will receive their share when and if the unification of the Republic of Cyprus is restored. As a self-declared state though they are not entitled to even a “drop”.
It is also interesting that Turkey refers to the International Law without though defining which law. Greece and Cyprus call on the United Nations’ Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the international agreement in Montego Bay in 1982, which Turkey does not recognize. So, for which International Law does Turkey talk about? The Law that they don’t recognize?
The reality is that Ankara is trying to take a “piece” of the EEZ of Cyprus using as a bridgehead and a Trojan horse the self-declared state without even resolving the Cyprus issue, meaning the unification of the island. They are trying to “eat the cake and still have it too”, an attitude that is deemed arrogant, aggressive and fit for pirates, beyond any reason and outside the International Law. That is why Alexis Tsipras recently, during a TV interview, messaged the Turkish side that no one is excluding them as long as they respect the International Law, meaning first of all that Cyprus will be united again as one unified dominant state, without foreign troops on the island and guarantor powers, and also that Turkey will stay in the Turkish seas that may be limiting but – and they need to finally come to terms with that – were lost in wars a century ago.
But what should alarm above all Erdoğan’s Islamic state is the red lines put to them by the US. One in the EEZ of Cyprus and the other in the Kurdish Northern Syria. And on both cases, the Americans are not alone they have the French with them whom they support as the ruling power of Europe.
So like Cyprus and its EEZ that are under the American-French “protection”, the same stands for the Kurds in Syria and it only takes one look at the map from above to realize that both Cyprus and the Syrian Kurdistan are in the same area of the Eastern Mediterranean and are totally relevant to the energy safety of Europe and the presiding of the West.