Energy Summit without Turkey

Ninth summit of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea between Egypt, Cyprus and Greece on the issues of energy and security was held without Turkey.

Bahrooz Jaafar
Oil expert

On October 18, 2021, the ninth summit of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea between Egypt, Cyprus and Greece on the issues of energy and security was held (as in previous times) without Turkey. Israel is always attended in this summit. Cyprus, Greece, Egypt and Israel have a very strong relationship. The priority of their relations refers to natural gas. They have been negotiating for ten years, and they have been in negotiations on presidency levels. Ankara, every year after finish the summit of three presidents, says "it will not succeed without Turkey". In 2009, after significantly efforts and searches by Nobel Energy enterprise, Italian ENI enterprise and Israeli companies for the first time was announced finding natural gas underwater in the coasts of Israel- Cyprus- Lebanon- Egypt.

The year 2010 was the first collapse of political, diplomatic and military relations between Israel and Turkey due to Turkey's insistence on Hamas cooperation, seizure of "Mavi Mar Mara Flotilla" ship, and killing more than ten Turks on the board by Israeli commando. The beginning of the Arab Spring occurred in 2011. Hence one-on-one, all the countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East bordering on the Mediterranean Sea have lost their relations with Turkey. Libya has become a big problem for Turkey. Egypt has become Turkey's rival because of a coup against Islamic Brotherhood and Mohammed Mursi, and reaching "Abdel Fattah el-Sisi” to power. Syria and Lebanon from Turkey's closest friends have become biggest problem for Turkey. The Cyprus problem remains as a root of Turkey's deep problem. Cyprus and Greece, as two members of the European Union (EU) stand against any Turkish movement. With France and Italy, they did not stop naval maneuver against Turkey's naval movements. Except the Mediterranean Sea arena, Russia does not invite "Turkey" in some major energy conferences.

For ten years, Ankara took every ways to extract natural gas from the Turkish seashores of Cyprus, but finding nothing. He found reserves in Aphrodite fields in (block 12, where natural reserves range is from 3.6 to 6 trillion cubic feet) and Calypso field in (Block 15 has natural reserves, which is estimated 8 trillion cubic feet) and 13 other sub-gas blocks located water borders in Greek state on Cyprus part. Since 2014, the Greek Cyprus has called Turkish region of Cyprus is ready to cooperate with them, but "Turkey" has not allowed this to happen! Later, at the beginning of 2020, a natural gas pipeline that called Med-East project for transportation of Israeli and Cyprus gas along 1900 kilometers underwater launched to Europe via Crite island of Greek. Then Mustafa Akinji, the president of Turkish Cyprus, announced "they regret to reject Greek Cyprus' request for partnership in natural gas project”.

For Turkey, all these problems continue for his natural gas from searching to exporting. Countries that involved in exporting and production of natural gas have not allowed "Turkey" to participate with them. They due to Turkey's interventions in the region on European Union's Cyprus-Greece waters have imposed sanctions on Turkey, resulting in the Turkish lira losing 650% of its value over the past 10 years.Rejeb Taib Erdogan Turkish President has changed the president of Central Bank of Turkey three times in one year. In fact, he needs to change his policies in the region, not the head of the central bank, because the problem does not come from a point that bank's interest rate has increased, the core of the problem comes from a decrease in foreign reserves in the Central Bank of Turkey, because foreign investors withdraw both their capitals and moneys either dollars or Euros from Turkish banks.

It is doubtful that Turkey is an important industrial country, but he is importing about 75 per cent of needed oil and natural gas from abroad. It spends between ($43 billion to $56 billion) annually to buy natural gas; sometimes it equivalents to 19 percent of the country's annual public budget. It cannot easily accept the fact that the country imports energy from Nigeria and Russia, but in the south and northwest part of Turkey, there has been a revolution of energy and he is just a seeker. We are in "Mediterranean Institute for Regional Studies" have participated and observing on Trilateral Meeting of Cyprus- Greece- Egypt, which is supervised by University of Nicosia and Voice of Cyprus. Kurds, whether in Syria or Iraq, are geographically and geopolitically close to energy, therefore they directly involved in these changes. All conferences, even in most of academic papers and panels without "Kurds’ presence”, Kurdistan Region of Iraq and Northern Syria are part of discussions of these conferences. Every time, as a reference to Donald trump's speech, professor Andreas Theophanous and Muncif Khaddar, who supervised my doctoral dissertation, says "Mr. Kurd is also present" and he turned to me "you have fifteen minutes, Mr. Kurd". They understood in a way that Kurdish political leadership was fully aware that we established an institute for strategic studies called "Mediterranean Institute for Regional Studies", while it was merely our efforts, tiredness and pockets. The Kurds themselves are not visible in these events, which are directly related to security, economic and diplomacy of Kurdistan.

The problem in the Mediterranean Sea is both pleasant and very complex. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has also entered, wherever "Turkey" has a project in the area, the UAE has another project against "Turkey". At the end of September 2021, the UAE bought 22 percent of Israel's Tamar field shares about $ 1 billion. This coincides with opening Israeli embassy in UAE. In politics and political science, there is no permanent norm, which means we cannot say that Turkey-Israel, or Turkey-Egypt, or Turkey and Greece will not normalize their relations forever, but problems of "Turkey" have extended with countries of water borders in the Mediterranean. Erdogan and Turkish institutions have made many fruitless trips and soft speeches in order to find a gap to normalize his relations with each of these countries. What I have understood is that these countries consider "Turkey" as a significant and immense position, but without Erdogan. They do not trust an Erdogan who always thinks of Turkish neo-Islamism and Into-Islamism, and has publicly shouted earlier, "Your land's registration is in our archives" as a sign that Egypt, Israel and Cyprus were in hands of the Ottoman Empire.

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