Turkey and Cyprus to go to war?
On Friday, Turkey sent a seismographic vessel to look for oil and gas deposits within Cyprus economic exclusion zone. Turkey had already deployed a warship south of Cyprus, and the announcement sent tensions soaring.
On Friday, October 3, a day after US Vice President Joe Biden pontificated about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “desire” to have “no Turkish soldiers” remain in Cyprus, Turkey sent Turkish-Greece-Cyprus tensions soaring by issuing a Navigational Telex, or NAVTEX, according to which Turkey was sending a seismographic vessel to explore areas in the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in Cyprus's southern waters.
According to the Cyprus Mail and other Cypriot news sources, the NAVTEX notifies mariners and countries that Turkey, as a sovereign, is reserving areas south of Cyprus for seismic surveys from October 20 to December 20 of this year. Turkey has basically issued a stark warning Cyprus, America and Israel that Turkish exploratory vessels were under Turkish sovereign protection, and were not to be disturbed even though they were exploring in areas south of Cyprus, an action that Turkey had never taken before.
Prior to this NAVTEX, the Eastern Mediterranean was already tense due to the fact that the Turkish armed forces had deployed the Turkish warship TCG Gelibolu to the south of Cyprus, and had further announced that the warship would continue to monitor the activities of Italian firm ENI’s drillship in block 9 in the waters south of Cyprus.
The TCG Gelibolu is participating in an ongoing Turkish Naval operation, dubbed “Mediterranean Shield.” Under Operation Mediterranean Shield, Turkish ships are ostensibly “conducting maritime security operations to provide for the safe and secure movement of vessels at sea and to deter terrorism.”
In fact, the TCG Gelibolu could be setting the stage for actual armed hostilities.
Making matters worse, the Turkish NAVTEX designated and reserved coordinates that would trespass into Cyprus’ Southern water EEZ Blocks 1, 2, 3, 8 and 9. These are the blocks roughly between Cyprus and Israel. Inside sources told the Cyprus Mail that “essentially Turkey has bisected the region between Cyprus’ southern coast and Egypt, as if Cyprus does not exist.”In response, earlier this evening, Cyprus suspended reunification talks with Turkey and Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus.
A government spokesman in Nicosia said President Anastasiades' decision was the result of Turkey's "provocative" and "aggressive" actions to start seismic tests off the island's southern coast later this month and that the plan was a "serious breach" of its sovereign rights as well as the rights of its own drilling consortium, consisting of Italy's Eni and South Korea's Kogas in the EEZ Block 9.
"The least I can say is that negotiations, in order to produce results, cannot be conducted under such conditions of provocation," said Ioannis Kasoulides, the Cypriot foreign minister, on Monday.
The looming danger is Turkish Frigate Gelibolu is currently deployed in the same areas that the Turkish NAVTEX has cordoned off for the Turkish gas exploration ship, which is set to enter the Cyprus EEZ blocks on October 20. If these two Turkish ships should act in tandem, this could be the tinder which could set the area aflame.בימים ההם אין מלך ... איש כל הישר בעיניו יעשה.
(In those days, there was no King... each man did what he saw fit - translation from the book of Judges).
Barack Obama chose to degrade the United States' capabilities to the point where the world no longer has a (Western, democratic) superpower. And now the rest of the world is doing whatever it wants.
What could go wrong?