Can the Energy Operations in the Eastern Mediterranean Trigger Dialogue on Cyprus? The latest Cyprus report of the International Crisis Group was discussed at TEPAV.
ANKARA – The findings of the latest report of the International Crisis Group (ICG) on the prospects for the hydrocarbon operations in the eastern Mediterranean to give way to a new episode of dialogue were discussed at TEPAV. The report was criticized for not respecting Northern Cyprus as a party, and for stating high expectations about the Turkish side.
The meeting, held on Tuesday, 3 April 2012, with the moderation of TEPAV International Policy Research Institute Director Prof. Atilla Eralp, hosted ICG Turkey/Cyprus Project Director Hugh Pope and ICG Analyst Didem Akyel. The speakers shared the most significant findings of the report titled “Aphrodite’s Gift: Can Cypriot Gas Power a New Dialogue?” The meeting was attended by representatives from the foreign mission in Turkey, the press, academia and the private sector as well as officials from relevant ministries.
Pointing to the presence of Turkish troops on the Island, Pope stated that the Greek Cypriots felt as if they were surrounded and maintained that Turkey did not recognize the rights of Greek Cypriots in the Mediterranean just as it did not recognize the Republic of Cyprus. Concerning the hydrocarbon exploration operations in the Eastern Mediterranean, he stated that unilateral actions instead of joint steps would reduce the gains of the process and raise the tension on the island. In this context, he emphasized the critical role of energy resources for the island’s economy.
Some aspects of the report criticized
During the meeting, Analyst Didem Akyel delivered information on the technical aspects of the issue. After the keynote speeches, questions and comments were received from the audience. Participants criticized the report for not regarding Turkish Cypriots as a party and for putting too much pressure on Turkey for action. Also, during the discussion on the problems concerning the extraction and transfer of the explored gas and high costs of transportation, Turkey was raised as a lowest-cost alternative route.
With a focus on the Cyprus issue, the report discussed the process in the Eastern Mediterranean since September 2011, marked with the start of hydrocarbon exploration operations of Greek Cyprus and the initiation of operations by the Turkish Petroleum Corporation.
Please click here for the report.