By Angeliki Charalampopoulou, Researcher in Center for Eastern Studies, Panteion University
Shortly after blocking ENI’s vessel from drilling, Turkish President Erdogan returns with “the sequel of the show”. By condemning Greek-Cypriot practice of rightful engagement in Cypriot exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and justifying Turkey’s blockage of private companies practicing their resulting rights from bilateral contract with Cypriot government, concludes that these “”had hopefully been instructive for some who saw an opportunity to start unilateral moves in the region when Turkey is engaged in anti-terrorism operations elsewhere.” Undoubtedly by now, Erdogan’s stance on several issues commencing from his EU relations, USA relations up to his engagement in his “backyard”, nobody in the world would doubt his motives. Taking the above into consideration, it should be crystal clear to the Cypriot government and all the involved parties (ENI, ExxonMobil, Qatar Petroleum) that any involvement of the Turkish-Cypriots –which directly involves Turkey – will not only stall the drilling processes –increasing the cost that way- but will also create a vicious circle with unpredictable outcome.
Thus, even if Cypriot government would be considered conciliatory recalling Cypriot President’s Anastasiades statement that Turkish Cypriot community is entitled to the island’s natural resources, this specific dispute could either trap the Greek-Cypriots in a new round of pressing negotiations with dangerous and concessive results against them or fuel the tension between the island and the neighboring country resulting to the isolation of both as “a disputed area” drawing away the island’s economic growth.