Turkish PM Erdogan at the UN: His way or no way
There’s a lot more for southern Cyprus to be alarmed about these days concerning its commitment to explore for natural gas offshore. First of all, there is the environmental factor dealing with undersea drilling off Cyprus, which could be damaging for an island so dependent on industries like tourism. There is also the acute water shortage issue, making Greek Cyprus heavily dependent on desalination for fresh water supplies.
But the most critical, as well as most dangerous problem that southern Cyprus may now be facing is an increasing belligerency from Turkey, which controls one third of this island; and whose proxy government there, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is telling the Greek Cypriots that it could become “very uncomfortable” for them if they go ahead and do the drilling without the TRNC being able to participate as well.
New friends: Erdogan on recent visit to Egypt
The danger that the Greek Cypriots face is centered around the threats being made by Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyep Erdogan, who is now threatening to station squadrons of Turkish F-16s in the TRNC that could be used against Greek controlled Cyprus should he consider it “necessary to do so”. International political and military strategists are looking at Turkey’s policies as “a redrawing of the strategic terrain of the eastern Mediterranean,” according to James Ker-Lindsay, a specialist on Turkey and Cyprus at the London School of Economics, and mentioned in a recent article in Bloomberg.
Turkey also has an increasing need for energy sources; and presently has to import most of its energy requirements, resulting in heavy financial expenditures. Although Julia reports today that it is has been secretly working on wind for the last two years.
The entire picture becomes even more intense with the addition of Erdogan’s increasing antagonism against Israel, whose natural gas exploration and production in the eastern Mediterranean is also being contested by Turkey, as well as by Lebanon. This is resulting in Turkey forming “new alliances” with countries that at still in a state of war against Israel.
Turkey’s actions, which appear to be direct overtures toward Muslim countries, could cause it long term damage in its efforts to become a member of the European Union. This new “Eastern outlook” , according to strategist James Ker-Lindsay, “would pretty much close Turkey’s hopes to become an EU member” should it resort to military action against Greek Cypress, as well as Israel.
Perhaps Mr. Erdogan, who many critics are saying desires to be Turkey’s uncrowned Sultan, wants his country to return to the days of the Ottoman Empire when Turkey was one of Islam’s religious and cultural centers. But even if Erdogan’s bellicosity is still considered by many to be a form of saber rattling, “these situations can have a nasty habit of spiraling out of control” says Ker-Lindsay.
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