Turkey increasingly isolated in Eastern Mediterranean - Kathimerini

Turkey is feeling increasingly isolated in the gas-rich Eastern Mediterranean as Greece and Cyprus take advantage of regional cooperation schemes and international alliances, wrote Tom Ellis, editor-in-chief of Kathimerini English.

 Ankara on Wednesday announced plans to send a second drillship to the eastern Mediterranean to look for oil and gas amid an ongoing dispute with divided island of Cyprus, which has contracted international oil companies to explore for potentially rich sources of gas off its shores. 

Turkey maintains the northern Turkish Cypriot state, which is only recognised by Turkey, should receive a fair share from gas resources of the disputed island. However, the internationally recognised Cypriot government says any wealth will be divided once the island reunited.

 The Cypriot government has submitted to the United Nations the coordinates delineating the boundaries of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and its continental shelf in the wake of Turkey’s decision to start drilling within that EEZ, Ellis wrote, adding that  Nicosia has received the full support of the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, as well as of the head of European Parliament, Antonio Tajani.

 Egypt and Israel, two of the strongest players in the region, have also adopted a clear position on Turkey’s drilling, issuing strongly worded statements, Ellis said.

The U.S. State Department, too, has expressed its concerns, saying it was “deeply concerned by Turkey’s announced intentions to begin offshore drilling operations in an area claimed by the Republic of Cyprus as its exclusive economic zone,” while calling on Turkey to halt “highly provocative” and calling on Turkey to halt operations.

"Greece and Cyprus are taking the right steps,’’ the article said and Erdoğan’s persistence in violating international law will further worsen the already difficult position Turkey’s strongman has put himself in over the past few years.