The Strategist

Turkey vs Cyprus: the conflict over gas fields is intensifying

11/05/2018 - 12:12

The gas conflict between Turkey and Cyprus is heating. In the end of January, the navy seals of Turkey for the first time intervened in it, and Turkish military ships invaded Cyprus exclusive economic zone (EEZ). There were two more conflicts last month.

The dispute flared up because of the gas blocks, that is, the zones of different posession in the waters around Cyprus. The Turkish government does not recognize Nicosia and its agreement on the EEZ. Ankara believes that the opportunity to gas production belongs to Turkish Cypriots, as well as Turkey, with blocks 4 - 7. Ankara believes that the Turkish maritime border lies in these blocks.

In early October, Cyprus announced a tender for gas production in the unit 7. As a responce, Turkey earlier sent an explorer and four military ships and began exploration in an area of forty four thousand square km., including fourth and fifth blocks.

Athens and Nicosia considered this an aggression of the Cyprus EEZ, and another event occurred on October 18.

The Greek side said that the ship of Turkey arrived to the continental shelf of Greece, forcing the latter to send a vessel to expel the Turks.

Turkish presence in the area is expected until February 1. Ankara, apparently going to take steps to observe its interests, at the same time accused Greece of violating maritime borders, which resulted in the current situation.