It looks as if someone takes pleasures and seeks to take advantages from the economic crisis that hit Cyprus. Turkey did not miss the chance to reiterate claims in the gas resources of Cyprus after Nicosia hinted to use resources revenues as collateral for international lenders’ financial aid and as compensation for the levy of bank deposits.
Cyprus’ intentions alarmed Ankara that illegally occupies almost half on the island with its army since 1974 and want to secure the islands’ natural resources in the North.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu repeated on Thursday the Turkish claims:
“Turkey is ready to negotiate a two-state solution to the Cyprus problem, if reunification talks between two sides fail and no agreement is reached over the establishment of a joint commission on gas resources on the island, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said.
Davutoğlu criticized the Greek Cypriot plan to use oil and gas exploration rights around the eastern Mediterranean island as collateral for an international bailout package that it desperately needs to protect its economy from going bankrupt.
“As Turkey, we want negotiations to start between both sides on the island and between Turkey and Greece, and we want a result, eventually. But Greek Cyprus unilaterally enacted a law that ignores the rights of Turkish Cypriots over the resources around Cyprus,” daily Habertürk quoted Davutoğlu as saying.” (via Turkish Weekly)
Earlier this month, U.N. envoy to Cyprus Alexander Downer that a bid to restart stalled talks to reunify the divided island would only happen after the country concluded negotiations with prospective international creditors for a rescue loan that it needs in order not to go bankrupt.
Weird enough, in the middle of the Cyprus crisis, Israel and Turkey suddenly moved closer after three years of ‘frozen relations’ over the assault of Israeli Defense Forces at flotilla Mavi Marmara that cost the lives of nine Turkish citizens.
On March 22nd, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu officially apologized to Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressing “regret over the loss of lives“. Netanyahu was urged to do so by US President Barack Obama, while he was visiting Israel.
The Israeli-Turkish re-approach alarmed Greeks and Cypriots, fearing they lost a key partner in the area – Israel.
But this is how things are solved and pressed diplomatically. Cleverly moving the figures on the geo-strategic chess board. Keep the balances… Then without political solution on Cyprus, no gas resources could be profitably exploited.
Don’t jump to conclusions so quickly. Yes, the Israelis made an unexpected apology to Turkey, but this doesn’t magically give the Turks bargaining power in Cyprus. Israel wants Cypriot gas. So does Russia, for that matter. These interests will not go away. Besides, I don’t believe anyone is taking Turkey’s position on this issue seriously.
Perhaps we should re-think our own policies. If they want a “two-state solution”, might I suggest that one of those states finally unite with Greece? Perhaps we should also re-think our support of Turkish EU membership, a cornerstone of our foreign policy in the past decade. I’m sure Davutoglu would just LOVE that.