The planned construction of the EastMed pipeline “is a response to Turkish challenges in the area,” President Nicos Anastasiades said on Friday.
In an interview with ERT, he said Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan “is an unpredictable leader with an agenda that goes beyond the aspirations of leaders who would like good relations with their neighbours”.
Cyprus, Greece and Israel signed an ‘historic’ agreement for the construction of the EastMed natural gas pipeline in Athens on Thursday.
On Friday Anastasiades added that as a result of Turkey’s behaviour the US has revaluated their strategic partners in the region.
“America is not abandoning their allies. It used to be Turkey, but today, as a result of Erdogan’s actions there has been a shift,” he said. “We can see this from the intervention in Syria and Iraq. He is a destabilising factor.”
Anastasiades said the project has the backing of the US and the EU, which is also co-financing certain aspects of it.
On Thursday Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis called the intergovernmental agreement “the crowning of a new geopolitical partnership” between Greece, Cyprus and Israel.
Government Spokesman Kyriakos Kousios said on Friday that Italy is also expected to sign up to the energy deal.
“The signing of the agreement serves the energy interests of not just the four participating countries, but of Europe as a whole as it provides an alternative solution for uninterrupted gas flow to the continent,” Kousios said.
Speaking to CNA, he added that this is something Europe also acknowledges, by funding the pipeline’s feasibility studies.
Asked to comment on Thursday’s report by Greek daily Kathimerini which said that the Athens deal includes a cooperation clause for the security of EastMed, Kousios said that this is something concerning the pipeline’s seamless operation and nothing else. The issue of how to protect the pipeline will be discussed by committees of the participating countries, he added.
But Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has said that the EastMed pipeline is not financially viable and will not help solve the Cyprus problem.
In a written statement on Thursday, Akinci said the pipeline, which is planned to extend from Israel “to Southern Cyprus, from Crete to Greece and ultimately to Italy” is a much longer and more costly route than other alternatives.