Back in 1974 Turkey invaded the Greek island of Cyprus and took control of the north, claiming the region as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus; a claim that is not recognised by any nation other than Turkey itself.
Last year the internationally recognised government of Cyprus licensed the Texas-based Noble Energy to start exploring an offshore block for natural gas, discovering what is thought to be one of the largest finds in years. Turkey was outraged, wanting the find for themselves.
The Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan claimed that allowing Noble Energy to drill the gas would destroy the peace talks encouraged by the UN to reunite the island. From then on Turkey sent its own seismic research vessels to explore the Cypriot waters as close as ten miles from the original drill site, always accompanied by naval vessels.
Turkey have now announced that they have started to drill for oil and gas in the north of Cyprus, a move that is expected to inflame tensions with the Greek Cypriots, and ruin chances of finally re-uniting the island; not that the reunification of Cyprus was around the corner. Since the UN persuaded the two factions to renew talks last year, the Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu have made little progress.
The continuous dispute and Turkey’s actions have hindered their efforts to join the EU.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com