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Re: Discussion - Political story of Turkish/Cyprus energy competition

Released on 2012-03-10 18:00 GMT

Email-ID 131339
Date 2011-09-23 16:39:10

From: "Emre Dogru"
To: "Analyst List"
Sent: Friday, September 23, 2011 8:21:22 AM
Subject: Re: Discussion - Political story of Turkish/Cyprus energy

Bayless Parsley wrote:

On 9/23/11 7:33 AM, Emre Dogru wrote:

A seismic vessel of Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) left the
Turkish port in Izmir and is currently sailing toward Cyprus.
According to Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, the vessel conduct
operate oil and natural gas explorations off northern Cyprus, though
it may operate in offshore blocs in the south that are claimed by
Greek Cypriot government in the future. There is no information that
the vessel is escorted by Turkish warships currently, but Turkey
announced before that its warships and submarines are already on
active duty in Eastern Mediterranean, without clarifying their exact

we need to verify this. have they sent frigates are not. that
determines wehther we could see this escalate into something more
serious. where and when did turkey announce they're on 'active duty'? i
thought they just said they would deploy so far

The offshore exploration and drilling dispute between Turkey and Greek
Cyprus flared up when the American Noble Energy company started its
operations on Sept. XXX. Noble Energy was granted exploration license
for Block 12 of Cyprus's exclusive economic zone (a maritime boundary
that gives a coastal state the right to conduct economic activities up
to 200 miles) in 2007, which is not recognized by Turkey due to the de
facto division of the Island. Turkey, as the only country that
recognizes Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, claims that the Greek
Cypriots do not have the right to exploit island's seabed resources
unilaterally. Greek Cypriot government, however, is the only official
representative of the entire island and a member of the European
Union, even though it does not have authority over the northern part
of the island. Despite these legal disputes, the Greek Cypriot
government signed exclusive economic zone delimitation agreements with
Egypt in 2003 and Lebanon in 2007.

[INSERT MAP - need to be merged]

Turkey has long been warning against starting offshore operations but
its rhetoric failed to persuade the Greek Cypriot government and Noble
Energy executives. Shortly after Noble Energy started its operations,
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish Cypriot President
Dervis Eroglu signed a bilateral continental shell agreement to
legitimize TPAO's exploration activity during their visit to the
United States on Sept. 21.

Though it appears as an energy competition between Turkey and Greek
Cyprus, there are underlying geopolitical factors that allowed the
Greek Cypriot government to take such steps.

The tension has already been increasing in eastern Mediterranean since
the Turkish government announced on Sep. XXX that Turkish warships
would escort any aid ship that sails toward the Gaza Strip to break
the Israeli imposed blockade. Turkish move came shortly after a leaked
newspaper report that said the UN investigation report on the Mavi
Marmara incident (which left nine Turks death in May 2010) found the
Israeli action legal. Even though it remains unclear whether Turkey
would allow another aid ship to sail toward Gaza from its ports to
make its threat credible, its move nevertheless has indicated that
Turkey would not rule out any military option to assume its regional
role as an emerging power.

The growing tension between Turkey and Israel played into Greek
Cypriot's hands. The Block 12 (the only licensed part of the exclusive
economic zone claimed by Greek Cyprus does this mean that Greek Cyprus
doesn't lay any claim at all to the other blocks? who does? why do
those blocks even exist/who drew them up, if no one is claiming them?)
these are the areas that Greek Cyprus says are inside of its exclusive
economic zone. It may operate there in the future. It's about claiming
sovereignty. But it only granted exploration license for the Block 12.
3 and 13, for instance, were excluded in the 1st licensing round. is
the closest part to Israel's recently discovered gigantic natural gas
reserves, don't say gigantic - just say what the estimates are
Leviathan and Tamar, where Noble Energy has been operating since 1998.
By starting operations in Block 12, Greek Cyprus does not only hope to
increase the geological possibility to find similar amount of energy
reserves, but it also takes advantage of the dispute between Turkish
and Israeli governments. Even though there is no formal exclusive
economic zone delimitation agreement between the Greek Cyprus and
Israel (and Israel could complicate Cyprus's plans if it wanted to),
Cyprus has faced no resistance from Tel-Aviv to start its operations.
Moreover, Greek Cyprus assumes that the Turkish navy would not take
the risk of getting close to the Israeli shore to prevent operations
in the Block 12. Why? It doesn't seem that close to Israel; there
seems to be a lot of space for Turkish ships to maneuver it's very
close, actually. and it's very risky given the military threats of the
turkish gov For the Israeli government, this is a great opportunity to
show how things could get more difficult for the Turkish government to
handle if it does not change its policy toward Israel. need to
explain how exactly. i dont think the israelis want to escalate things
with Turkey, they're largely staying out of this issue but are happy
to see the Turks come under pressure and seeing the limits of Turkey's
rhetoric exposed in the eastern med. i think that's all u need to say
on the israeli angle

Has the Izzie gov't issued any warnings to the Turks about not sending
ships to deter Greek Cypriot drilling activity? no. they remained
largely calm. but will double-check this part.

The fact that Turkish - EU relationship at its nadir helps the Greek
Cypriot government to push its ambitions as well. No chapter in
Turkish - EU accession talks has opened since July 2010, and the
Turkish government already announced that it will suspend all ties
with the EU when Greek Cyprus assumes EU's rotating presidency in the
second half of 2012. The issue has been demonstrated by Turkish
President Abdullah Gul's visit to Germany on Sept. XXX, during which
German Chancellor Angela Merkel outspokenly said that Germany does not
want Turkey to become a member of the European Union. Greek Cyprus
knows that Turkey has very few levers against the EU to convince
Europe's powerful countries - which are already busy with the European
sovereign debt crisis - to stop the Greek Cypriots. I would just throw
away this entire para, or condense it, because i don't see why it
matters. everyone has known for years that turkey wio yeah, dont need
to get into too much detail, but point out that Turkey does'nt need to
be sensiitive to EU condemnation. link back to our more in depth
pieces where we discuss how turkye primairly is using hte EU bid now
for PR purposes but is moving past this out of geopol necessity

It is not clear yet how long the exploration stages will take and
whether any reserve would be found that is worth exploiting. STRAFOR's
Turkish energy sources indicate that Turkey's official policy is to
wait until Greek Cyprus enters the production stage to take a decisive
action. A military confrontation is unlikely until then, though naval
dogfights could take place in highly a restrained manner. this sounds
weird, and though they may attempt restraint, there is room for
miscalculation and error that could escalate the situation. For the
moment, however, Greek Cyprus tries to take advantage of changing
geopolitical conditions as much as it can to gain more ground. Turkey,
for its part, attempts to show that it is able to take steps to defend
its interests in eastern Mediterranean and other regions if needed,
since any Turkish weakness in this issue could encourage Greece to
push its demands in the Aegean Sea, which would force Turkey to
intervene without any hesitation. how would Greece push its demands
in the Aegean? stay consistent with our last diary on this. Greece
is distracted financially and so is US (and that's what informed
turkey's thinking on this,) but Turkey also can't rule out that greece
won't benefit and use this issue as an attempted distraction while the
govt is facing so much political heat

Emre Dogru
Cell: +90.532.465.7514
Fixed: +1.512.279.9468

Emre Dogru

Cell: +90.532.465.7514
Fixed: +1.512.279.9468