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Greek Cypriots fear gas deal between Israel and Turkey

18 June 2014

Oil and Natural Gas Engineering Coordinator at Middle East Technical University North Cyprus Campus Prof Salih Saner says that the main concern of the Greek Cypriots is the progress being made in the course of meetings between Israel and Turkey for a possible pipeline between Turkey and Israel. According to Saner Israeli gas can be distributed to international markets through Turkey, ‘Kibris Postasi’ reported.

Analysing the latest developments in Cyprus negotiations for the newspaper, Prof Saner mentioned a new “hydrocarbon transfer bargain”. Saner said that this agreement has already taken place between Turkey and Israel and that there have been positive developments during this bargaining process.

Prof Saner says that the gas discovered in the Aphrodite field is not that significant compared to the reserves in Israel. “The reserves in Israel are 8 times more than the ones in Cyprus. So Israel might even buy the Cypriot gas and sell it through Turkey.”

“No matter how some tried to promote the idea that the reserves in the Aphrodite parcel could increase the hopes for a solution, the reality was the opposite. Meaning that this parcel added to the problems between TC and GC sides as TC side agreed to compromise their sovereignty in the joint declaration, whereas GC side didn’t even agree to include hydrocarbon issue as a heading because “it was a matter of sovereignty”. Hydrocarbon issue should have been included as a heading next to the other 6 main headings. Turkish Cypriot side could not manage to do that and as in other issues they sat back and let Turkey to have authority on that as well.”

 “Technical tests and analysis showed that the amount of gas in Cyprus is less than predicted and pipeline to Crete project is just a dream. In addition to that gas liquidisation projects are put on hold. But the real fear of GC side is the progress that is achieved during Israel-Turkey meetings. On the other hand GC side is planning to sell the gas unilaterally by disregarding TC rights and this is against the international law”

Prof Saner then went on to evaluate the reasons behind Vice-President Joe Biden’s visit to Cyprus:

“It is definite that one of the major reasons for Biden’s Cyprus visit was Israeli gas. Actually he had two aims when he came to Cyprus, first one was to sustain US’ control in the region by creating a peaceful basis between Turkey, Israel, Greece and Cyprus and the second one was to manage to find a way for Israeli and Cypriot gas’ transfer to EU countries.

US is aware of the impossibility of a Federal United Cyprus as a solution therefore divided Cyprus model became more and more discussed lately. It is possible to reach an agreement on hydrocarbon without reaching a comprehensive settlement. The lack of progress in the negotiations is just contributing to division. In case of a failure in reaching a federal solution the issue of hydrocarbon can be evaluated as part of transitionary solution or as part of CBMs which in that case would serve as agreements between two divided sides,” Saner concluded.

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