Erdoğan should warn Qatar -energy expert

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan should warn his close ally, Qatar, that signed a licence with U.S. petroleum giant ExxonMobil in 2017 to explore for oil and gas off the coast of Cyprus criticising companies surveying gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean, suggests a Turkish energy expert, Necdet Pamir.

Tensions between Turkey and Greece, NATO allies, have been on the rise since Turkish Coast Guard vessels obstructed oil exploration near Cyprus, preventing the Italian energy company Eni from drilling in the Cypriot exclusive economic zone.

Soon after, Turkish president Erdoğan issued a warning to Greece and Cyprus as well as foreign energy companies to trespassing Turkish sovereignty. "Right now, our warships, air force and other security units are following developments in the region closely with authority to intervene if necessary," Erdogan said in a speech, "We advise the foreign companies to avoid relying on their agreements with the Greek side."

 However, Turkey's close ally Qatari energy company, Qatar Petroleum, and U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil, in 2017, announced that they forged a deal to begin planning for drilling operations near Cyprus. The energy companies announced that they intend to drill the first exploration well in 2018.

Pamir, who teaches world energy politics at Turkey's Bilkent University, says that despite Turkey's protests over the 10th parcel, where Turkish vessels collided with their Greek counterparts, the plot is not a part of Turkey's exclusive economic zone. "A potential conflict over the 10th block will further escalate the already shaky international relations between Turkey, and the U.S.," said Pamir to German newspaper Deutsche Welle Turkish.