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The New Turkish Navtex #CyprusGas

The New Turkish Navtex <a class="hashtagger" href="">#CyprusGas</a>

Under the disguise that it could soon be carrying out some naval exercises, Turkey issued a new Navtex on Feb. 21, a day before the termination of the previous identical Navtex on Feb. 22.

The move aimed to demonstrate Turkey’s resolute position to stop unilateral offshore Greek Cypriot hydrocarbon explorations. As happened during previous smaller or bigger standoffs between the two sides over the partnership rights of Turkish Cypriots in the natural resources on and off the island, Turkey stood tall with the Turkish Cypriot people.

This “adamancy vs. adamancy” or “provocation vs. provocation” approach cannot bring good results to anyone. Some may think that ignoring the provocative unilateral actions by the Greek Cypriot side, ignoring the partnership rights of the Turkish Cypriots and asking Turkey now to withdraw its military vessels and allow offshore drilling for natural gas by Saipem 12000 drillship of the Italian energy firm ENI inside the island’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). But achieving it might require a miracle.

The European Union membership unilaterally granted to Cyprus in 2004, days after the Greek Cypriots rejected a U.N. settlement plan – as well as the global silence to the usurpation of all Turkish Cypriot partnership rights on Cyprus, including natural resources of the island – has made Greek Cypriots more stubborn and rendered a Cyprus settlement almost impossible.

Of course, the Greek Cypriot side could continue like this, refusing to accept the partnership rights of the Turkish Cypriots and insisting on holding Turkey hostage. But what will it be its eventual reward? Palliative successes might be achieved but every foolish Greek Cypriot action has ultimately proven very costly to Greek Cypriots.

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But there are ways out of this situation. Two were suggested by the Turkish Cypriots back in 2012. Then Turkish Cypriot leader Derviş Eroğlu understood that both sides on the divided island must halt plans for offshore gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean until they have reached a settlement. During talks with the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in New York, Eroğlu suggested the establishment of an ad-hoc committee, made up of an equal number of Greek and Turkish Cypriots and a U.N. liaison, to meet to give approvals and licenses for all drills.

The creation of such a committee for joint exploration, drilling and sale of the island’s hydrocarbon riches through Turkey was itself a revolutionary and constructive idea. If the Greek Cypriots were sincere regarding the partnership of the two people in natural resources then the idea could have taken off. What’s more, the 2012 Turkish Cypriot proposal suggested the creation of a fund with the natural gas money to finance a political settlement to the Cyprus problem. Was not obscurity in the financing of a settlement one of the major reasons why the Greek Cypriots said “No” in the 20014 referendum on a U.N.-brokered resolution plan?

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About The Author

Yusuf Kanli

Born in Cyprus in 1959, Yusuf Kanlı is a graduate of the English Language and Literature Department of the Faculty of Letters of the Ankara University. He started journalism with the Turkish Daily News in 1978. Until he briefly left the paper in 1985 (for military service in Northern Cyprus) he served as diplomatic correspondent, assistant foreign news editor and assistant editor. During this period he was as well one of the two co-authors of an annual reference book on Turkey, “Turkey Almanac”. After completing his military service he returned the Daily News as assistant editor. In 1989 he became executive editor and also started writing daily opinion articles. He continued to be one of the co-authors of the “Turkey Almanac” annual reference book. In February 1993, over differences with the publisher on editorial policy, he quit the paper and joined the Anatolia News Agency (AA) as deputy foreign news chief. He stayed with the Anatolia News Agency until September 1995. In this period, he covered the Armenia-Azerbaijan war over Nogorno-Karabagh, covered developments in the post-independence Central Asian republics. Because of his refusal as the duty editor to run a manipulated news story demanded by the then lady prime minister of the country, he was fired from the AA, a development that Kanlı considers as his “medal of honor” in the profession. On his return to the Daily News for a third time in October 1995, he first became an editor at large but soon assumed the responsibility of electronic publishing and established Turkey’s first daily updated English language news web site, the TDN Online on May 19, 1996 (now In January 1997, he became executive editor of the Daily News for a second time and stayed in that post until he was appointed as editor-in-chief in June 2004. In February 2007, he quit all executive duties and became a contract columnist of the newspaper. He has been also writing weekly articles in Turkish for a variety of newspapers and news portals in Northern Cyprus. He is a former chairperson and the honorary chairperson of Diplomacy Correspondents Association (DMD) of Turkey, an active member of Association of Foreign Policy Council, a member of the executive board and vice chairperson of the Association of Journalists and coordinator of the Press for Freedom project, which has been monitoring and reporting on press and freedom of expression issues in Turkey since 2013. He has been a member of several associations and foundations, mostly established by Turkish Cypriots living in Turkey or abroad. He is married to Dr. Aydan Kanlı and has one daughter, Cansu. He has Turkish, Turkish Cypriot and Cypriot triple nationality.

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