Cyprus Mail
CM Regular ColumnistOpinion

Vultures prey where carrion lies

By Hermes Solomon

TALKS TO solve the Cyprob have been on-going for years – on and off for whatever reasons but never off indefinitely. They are now due to the present round of Turkish provocation in the Cyprus republic’s EEZ.

One can’t help asking why Turkey provoked the republic with the Barbaros intrusions in the first place, and will continue doing so until early December despite worldwide reaffirmations of the republic’s sole right to exploit fossil fuels in its internationally recognised offshore zones without harassment of any kind from Turkey?

Since Turkey insists that she is pushing for a Cyprob solution on ‘Monday’, why does she shoot the talks in the foot on ‘Tuesday’?

No way will the republic submit to Turkey’s bullying when right is on the republic’s side. So why do so called supporters of the republic’s EEZ rights (the EU, UK, UN and US) now insist on making fossil fuels a part of any Cyprob settlement agreement?

This was not the case, or was fossil fuels ever a bone of contention, during Cyprob talks held between former President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader at the time, Mehmet Ali Talat.

Was fossil fuel wealth even hinted at during the Annan Plan referendum of 2004? No, of course not! Nothing had been discovered anything back then.

But now that Noble Energy have discovered between three and six trillion cubic feet, Turkey has raised her ugly head and forced an end to all negotiations between the two sides; not that negotiations were going anywhere anyway, but at least permanent partition was looking increasingly likely.

It seems that Turkey has now secretly decided that she no longer wants permanent partition. And the reason for that is that it looks like most of the fossils fuels are under the seabed on the south side – and given permanent partition, the north/Turkey will hardly benefit at all.

So why do you think the ‘big noises’ are suddenly and unexpectedly saying no talks without resolution of fossil fuels? Is it because they know Turkey will get spiteful and cause yet more trouble.

By the ‘big noises’ demanding resolution of fossils fuels on any talks agenda that never was, they are temporarily placating Turkey with a promise that the north/Turkey will receive more than their fair share of profits extracted from beneath the South’s EEZ – a pipeline and 18 per cent plus after extraction and sale?

But will Turkey react like the playground bully who wants most of the school wimp’s sweets?

Perhaps Turkey already knows the likely amounts in the south’s EEZ and the Barbaros provocations are only the beginning. Next they’ll insist that any pipeline goes to and through Turkey.

But could the republic ever trust Turkey not to stick a baton in the wheels of any pipeline given Turkey’s recent bullying; another Moscow/Kiev scenario in the making?

Surely this recent provocation by Turkey could only have been aimed at disrupting any final Cyprob solution.

But the playground bully has been reported to the headmaster (the US) who can’t make his mind up as to who deserves what.

And this is why the republic will fight tooth and nail against piping gas to Europe via Turkey, arguing that the shortest distance between three points is a straight line (Aphrodite/Vassiliko and one of Egypt’s liquefaction plants in Idku or Damietta).

Energy Minister, Giorgos Lakkotrypis, known to his friends as Mr Chatterbox with an owl’s 240 degree swivelling head, has even gone as far as suggesting that a T-junction introduced into a seabed pipeline built between Aphrodite and Egypt could ‘go west, my son’ to a terminal in Crete, where it would then be connected to another pipeline linking Crete with ‘our beloved motherland’, Greece.

Turkey is as earthquake prone as the Med’s seabed, if not more so, and pipeline fractures are commonplace. And Turkey’s terrain is hardly plateau flat.

A seabed pipeline might well be the best solution for transporting gas to Europe, thus justifying Mr Chatterbox’s Megáli Idéa.
Talk about Siamese triplets connected at the head; the Republic of Cyprus, Egypt and Greece would be lovingly bonded for as long as the gas kept flowing.

And there we have it; a small percentage of the profits, say 18 per cent, paid over to the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ after permanent partition and worldwide recognition, and everybody’s happy!

One thing is certain; the Republic of Cyprus will not lie down and die this time like it did in 1974.

This time the republic has right on its side and will cry wolf at any opportunity. But will the ‘headmaster’ always hear and punish the bully, or are the bully and headmaster in cahoots? Difficult to say without upsetting sensitive Turkey, which has ever since the day they occupied the north of the island, wanted their way and only their way.

My best wishes go with our courageous president to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, where he will undergo an important operation then return quickly to Cyprus to continue to fight the good fight against the republic’s lifelong ‘thorn in the side’ – Turkey.

The trouble is that without the ‘headmaster and school board’ visibly and permanently on our side, we will lose most of our sweets, and that’s probably why Wilbur Ross and Josef Ackermann have become board members of the bankrupt Bank of Cyprus for what most think is ‘peanuts’.

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