A new era in the Eastern Mediterranean - ERDAL TANAS KARAGÖL

A new era in the Eastern Mediterranean

The rivalry between the region’s different countries and actors in the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as the disagreements regarding how to best share hydrocarbon resources calls for the adoption of a new vision for this region.

In other words, a new “Eastern Mediterranean Energy Strategy” is one of the most pressing issues today.

As I have regularly mentioned in my previous columns, the Eastern Mediterranean is a region where a strategy must be adopted from geographical, military, economic, legal and diplomatic standpoints, thus it is mandatory to outline a new roadmap. This requirement is essential for the protection of the interests and rights of both Turkey and the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC).

In this respect, there is no doubt that the new Presidential Directive issued over the weekend and the new Coordination Office for Cyprus Affairs, which also concerns the Eastern Mediterranean, are important steps.

The new directive aims for relations between Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) to be conducted in a comprehensive manner, enabling full coordination.

Meanwhile, the Coordination Office for Cyprus Affairs, which will conduct various activities through Turkey’s institutes and foundations together with the TRNC, heralds a critical beginning from an administrative and general coordination perspective.

In short, this step is crucial for general coordination with regards to appointing an interlocutor and creating a new strategy for the Cyprus issue, as well as for the Eastern Mediterranean, through communication and information channels.

Additionally, the new proactive Eastern Mediterranean policy that was solidified through the drilling, which has and will be conducted in the name of protecting the rights of Turkey and the TRNC in the Eastern Mediterranean, carries vital importance with regards to the need of conducting more comprehensive work aimed at reaching more meaningful and fresh policies.

What are these comprehensive studies?

Turkey must thus explain its stance to the global public opinion in order to protect both its own rights and those of the TRNC with regards to the hydrocarbon sources found in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

In addition to the political messages to explain Turkey’s viewpoints on these issues, strong academic studies are also needed. Turkey boasts many academicians, experts and strategists with different expertise in the field of energy. Therefore, there is an urgent need for an “Eastern Mediterranean Energy Studies” to conduct comprehensive studies and develop policies on the Eastern Mediterranean.

Regardless of the name and structure of the new institution or organization to be created, a new entity that will employ experts in needed fields is in dire need today. Therefore, a body can be formed with experts such as academicians, soldiers, diplomats, and lawyers who will work on military, economic, legal and diplomatic issues.

While until now Eastern Mediterranean energy studies centers were supposed to be in Turkey, isn’t the fact that the most comprehensive studies on the topic is conducted by the Mediterranean Energy Observatory (OME), which is located in Paris, something to ponder?

The studies to be carried out for the Eastern Mediterranean region should cover a wide range of issues from the legal status of the region to the transferal of resources to be extracted after drilling exploration.

Turkey needs high-level studies in order to reach its goal of becoming a “Trade Center for Energy” by using the advantages afforded to it by virtue of its geography and the prospect of securing its own energy supplies.

Therefore, there is much to be done in the Eastern Mediterranean region, for which this is only the beginning.


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