Cyprus could be Turkey’s next target - analyst

Cyprus may be the next place Turkey seeks to exert its influence as part of an assertive new foreign policy, analyst Seth J. Frantzman said in an article for the Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

Cyprus has been divided in two since 1974, when a Turkish military intervention sought to counter a Greek-backed coup.

Sunday’s presidential election in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) saw victory for Ankara’s favoured candidate, Ersin Tatar, who has taken a more hawkish stance on negotiations over the island’s future.

Tatar is believed to favour seeking international recognition for the TRNC, rather than a return to negotiations aimed at reunifying the island.

"That could give Ankara just the recipe it needs for an endless cycle of crises in the eastern Mediterranean, leveraging northern Cyprus to lay claims to waters around the island, under the guise of a "dispute"," Frantzman said.

Tensions have been rising in the region, where both Greece and Turkey lay claim to recent discoveries of deep-sea hydrocarbons.

But Frantzman said: “This is not about energy because Ankara has new Black Sea energy finds. It is about giving Europe a ‘slap’ as nationalists call it in Turkey.”

The move is also aimed at cementing Turkey’s maritime influence all the way to Libya, Frantzman said. “This would cut Greece off from Cyprus and Egypt and put Ankara closer to harassing Israel by supporting Hamas in Gaza.”