The cost of frozen conflict for Cyprus, Greece and Turkey | Kathimerini
By Hugh Pope
Last month, iron anti-riot shutters boarded up the street-side windows of the Grande Bretagne hotel ballroom in Athens as fine-suited patriarchs of Greek and Cypriot industry gathered for the annual Athens Energy Forum, hoping that recent discoveries deep beneath the Mediterranean might power them out of austerity budgets and Eurozone bailouts.
But the idea of hydrocarbon salvation in the eastern Mediterranean is wishful thinking. The potential riches remain buried under decades of sterile politics: a lose-lose-lose failure to compromise between Greece, Cyprus and Turkey that will likely keep gas in the ground for much longer than is ever admitted in silver-tongued speeches at the Grande Bretagne.
The underlying reason is this: neither Turkey, nor Greece, nor Cyprus can securely say what belongs to whom. They have snookered themselves with maximalist claims to Exclusive Economic Zones in the Aegean and Mediterranean that cannot be resolved without major compromises. (According to the U.N. Law of the Sea, EEZs can extend up to 200 nautical miles from a country’s coast line; countries usually agree a median line if there is an overlap; islands may or may not allow EEZs to extend much further than a country’s mainland). If they try to drill without these compromises, they will have less reputable partners and higher costs; they will make un-economic development decisions; and they will risk igniting new conflicts.
FULL ARTICLE (Kathimerini)
Photo: Flickr/ European Parliament