Oil deal in Iraq should be example for Cyprus: Turkish President Erdoğan

Oil deal in Iraq should be example for Cyprus: Turkish President Erdoğan

A recent deal between the central and regional governments of Iraq removed legal obstacles in front of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) marketing of its oil via Turkey. REUTERS Photo
The recent internal agreement between Baghdad and Arbil should set an example for sharing potential energy resources off Cyprus, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, vowing that Turkey will never abandon the rights of Turkish Cypriots in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“We played a leading role in the mechanism that made the deal between Baghdad and Arbil possible. In the end, we came to a point where everyone is satisfied. We hold the same understanding for Cyprus. I believe the success of our energy diplomacy in Iraq will be repeated in Cyprus as well,” Erdoğan said in an address late Dec. 10, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO).

A recent deal between the central and regional governments of Iraq removed legal obstacles in front of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) marketing of its oil via Turkey. It also cleared the way for intensified energy cooperation between Ankara and Baghdad.

However, the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean is more complicated than in Iraq, as Greek Cyprus is recognized as the sole sovereign state by the international community. When Greek Cyprus recently issued licenses to foreign companies to launch oil exploration off the island, Turkey sent its seismic vessel Barbaros to do its own drilling. It also deployed a warship to the region to monitor Greek Cypriot moves.

Erdoğan reiterated that Turkey will not remain above the fray on developments off Cyprus.

“We will continue our work in the region unless Greece and the Greek Cypriot Administration take our warnings seriously. As with all work that takes place in Cypriot exclusive economic zones, Turkish Cypriots have equal rights by law. I want to express that we will defend their rights until the end,” he said, stressing that Turkey’s position on the issue is to find a resolution based in international law.

Fresh drilling in Western Black Sea

Erdoğan also said Turkey plans to carry out its own oil explorations by domestic-made seismic vessels and oil platforms, and said the first vessel will be launched into the sea in one month.

“In January, we will launch new drilling operations in the Western Black Sea region. There may be a need for a local drilling platform; we are capable of building this platform in our shipyards. I want to herald this. If need be, we can build a $1 billion-worth platform using 100 percent national resources,” he said.

Speaking on the recent deal between Russia and Turkey on the construction of a new pipeline to carry Russian gas to Europe via Turkey through a gas terminal to be stationed on the Greek border, Erdoğan said building energy cooperation with Russia is a “win-win” situation. He also underlined that the project can be begin only after the finalization of the agreement.