Turkey’s gas exploration endeavour costly and alienating – Oil Price

Turkey’s natural gas-collecting efforts in the East Mediterranian appear more politically driven rather than economic and have worked to unify countries against it, energy news site OilPrice.com said.

“The Eastern Mediterranean has become a theatre for power politics which has its origin in energy exploration and production activities,” the article said.

Turkey has “enviously watched discovery after discovery in the backyard of its political adversaries” Israel and Egypt as they focus production on their own offshore gas fields.

Greece, Israel and Cyprus have been deepening ties as the three countries seek to benefit from the potentially huge hydrocarbon reserves detected in the Eastern Mediterranean.

But Turkey has objected to plans to drill near the island of Cyprus, which is divided between the Greek Republic of Cyprus and a breakaway Turkish administration in the north.

Turkey is the only country to formally recognise the Republic of Northern Cyprus, and Ankara says the Greek administration would infringe on Turkish Cypriots’ rights by exploiting the reserves. The Turkish government also disputes the Greek Cypriots’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), part of which, Ankara says, lies on Turkey’s continental shelf.

The article pointed out that while parties involved in offshore projects have slowed down or place on hold plans for deep-sea energy production due to the global pandemic, Turkey’s continued efforts are a “sign that more is at stake than just energy”.

Experts have warned that Turkey is likely to tip into its second recession since 2018 as the country struggles with dwindling foreign exchange reserves, relatively high foreign debt obligations and the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. The lira hit a record low of 7.269 against the dollar on May 7.

Turkey “risks a unified front of multiple opponents in several regions,” it said.

“The Eastern Mediterranean states, Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, and Israel, are unified due to the discovery of significant energy resources. The UAE's is alarmed by the possible resurgence of the Muslim Brotherhood in neighboring countries,’’ the article added. “France, on the other hand, fears losing its interests in Libya if Ankara can tip the balance in favor of the government in Tripoli. All countries, however, have one thing in common that has brought them together: Turkey.’’

Turkey’s status in the region has weakened because the country is increasingly being left out of regional cooperation, it said.