EastMed summit to send stern message to Turkey - Kathimerini

A trilateral summit between the leaders of Greece, Israel and Cyprus, slated to take place in Jerusalem on Wednesday, with the participation of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on the EastMed pipeline is expected send a  stern message to Turkey over its aggressive activity in the Eastern Mediterranean, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported.

The summit  will be held with attendance from the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras and Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades with backing from Pompeo to emphasise the intention to build the EastMed pipeline to transfer natural gas from the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe, it said.

The United States is backing up an energy corridor to transfer newly discovered gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe and a strong statement of intent to press forward with the project, and with a tighter security alliance in the region, has rattled Turkey, which has its own sights on energy resources in the area, the newspaper said.

Turkey has attempted to block exploration for hydrocarbons off the coast of Cyprus, saying Turkish Cypriots have a right to a say in the work and a share in any revenue. But the Greek Cypriots have said an agreement over the island, divided since Turkish troops invaded in 1974, must come first.

Turkey is planning a naval exercise off Cyprus on the same day as the summit in an apparent response to the convention, Kathimerini said.

Ankara has announced the exercise will take place on March 20, 22, 25, 27 and 29.

The Greek Cypriot administration has complained to the United Nations over Turkey’s activities in the area, expressing its concern over Ankara’s stated plan to drill for gas off the island.