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Monday, 15 July 2019

Turkey to continue drilling for gas off Cyprus until Greek Cypriots accept Turkish-Cypriot cooperation proposal

Eastern Mediterranean drama over gas exploration continues: Turkey will continue its gas drilling in waters off Cyprus until the Greek Cypriots accept a cooperation proposal from Turkish Cypriots, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has been quoted as saying. Turkish Cypriots had proposed that the two sides work together to explore gas, arguing cooperation would help calm tensions in the region. Turkey began drilling off western Cyprus in May, and sent a second drilling ship into Cypriot waters last week. The EU is threatening to restrict funding and contracts to Turkey in response to the drilling, according to a draft statement seen by Reuters last week.

Why do we care? Turkey, Cyprus and Greece aren’t the only players caught up in the great EastMed gas game. Egypt signed an agreement with Cyprus to build a natural gas pipeline last year. The pipeline will allow natural gas from the Aphrodite gas field to be transported to Egypt’s liquefaction facilities at Idku and Damietta, and re-exported as liquefied natural gas. The Foreign Ministry issued a statement last week expressing concern about Turkey’s plans to explore for gas in Cypriot waters.

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