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Briefing on growing tension in the Eastern Mediterranean

Briefing on growing tension in the Eastern Mediterranean

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15 February 2018

The discovery of new natural gas reserves off the coast of Cyprus looks set to fuel further tension in the Eastern Mediterranean    

  • Turkey has become increasingly assertive over maritime claims that form part of long-standing disagreements with the Republic of Cyprus and Greece
  • Tensions have been exacerbated by the discovery of a significant new gas field close to the contested waters
  • The discovery has the potential to provide the basis for a wider settlement over Cyprus, but both domestic and geopolitical factors make further disputes more likely

On February 11, Turkish warships restricted the movements of the Saipem 12000, a floating rig operated by the Italian company ENI, which has been exploring for gas off the coast of Cyprus. The Saipem 12000 had been working in the area with the authorisation of the government of the Republic of Cyprus, which has claimed the waters around the island as its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). This is disputed by Turkey…

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