Greek Cyprus Signs Energy Deal With Israel in Defiance of Turkey
by Zach Pontz
The Greek Cypriot cabinet defied Turkey earlier this week, approving plans to sign a deal with a US-Israeli partnership to build a liquefied natural gas plant on the island to exploit untapped energy riches, AFP reported Friday.
Turkey has objected to the plan, saying the resources should be divided between two sides of the separated island.
“The cabinet has approved the decision to sign the memorandum of understanding between Cyprus and companies Noble Energy International (US), Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration Limited Partnership for liquefaction terminal for natural gas,” said government spokesman Victor Papadopoulos on June 19.
The broke Mediterranean island is hoping the untapped offshore energy resources can infuse its faltering economy. It hopes to commercially export its gas by 2020.
Turkey has attacked the Greek Cypriot government claiming it violates rights of the Turkish residents of the island.
The Turkish Foreign ministry said in a statement that Ankara “won’t let the Cypriot issue continue in this way.”
It also said that Turkey is ready to negotiate a two-state solution for the island.
Turkish energy authorities have expressed their belief that the best way for carrying any Mediterranean source – Cypriot or Israeli gas and oil -would be through Turkey and any plan in which Turkey is excluded won’t be considered reasonable.