The European Union in late February sanctioned two Turkish citizens over their involvement in exploratory drilling in waters internationally recognized as belonging to Cyprus, escalating a growing spat over hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean.
The sanctions were imposed on two Turkish oil executives after Turkey moved to expand its exploratory activities around Turkish Cyprus, a breakaway nation recognized only by Ankara itself.
Turkey has asserted it has a right to drill in the area, while Cyprus, backed by the EU and the United States, had staunchly opposed Turkey’s efforts.
Greece, Cyprus and Israel in January signed a deal to construct an East Med pipeline to ship natural gas to Europe, effectively creating an arc around Turkey and excluding it. The project, estimated to cost about $7 billion and complex both politically and physically, is in even more dire straits given the low price of oil.
At the same time, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Israel have begun the groundwork to create the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum. The forum, which again excludes Ankara, is supposed to create a regional gas market and allow nations to share the heavy burden of hydrocarbon-related infrastructure.
Photo Source: AlJazeera