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Turkish drilling off Cyprus risks destabilising region

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Significance

Turkey is prospecting for hydrocarbons off Cyprus in direct response to the Cypriot government’s identification of major gas reserves. The Yavuz will drill in an area which the self-declared Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC) claims lies within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Impacts

  • Turkey risks its relations with the EU, United States and NATO and could be pushed closer to Russia.
  • Any major confrontation with the West would put pressure on the lira, negatively affecting the economy.
  • President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could then put the blame on ‘external forces’ rather than his own mismanagement.
  • Erdogan could use a confrontation to divert attention from the ruling party’s defeat in the re-run Istanbul mayoral election.
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