Cyprus, Turkey, Greece and Mediterranean Drilling Rights Battle
The Middle East has yet another potentially explosive flashpoint that could erupt into war, or a skirmish between Greece, Turkey, Israel, and Cyrpus. The reasons for this are increasing daily. Greece and Turkey were never the best of allies in the NATO group. One could say, they tolerated one another so both could be in the same club of NATO. In the early 20's, Greece invaded (with blessing of England and France) Turkey at Izmir and from 1919-22, tried to expand their Greater Greece doctrine in taking over Turkey reaching to Ankara. Of course, it failed. But the bad blood between them was born. Then, there was Cyrpus, a large island just off Turkey. The British used it as a colony since 1923 or so, under much unrest from both Greek and Turk patriots who lived there. When the British left it mainly to Greece, Turkey once again asserted that the island was theirs and tensions mounted again in the 60s and culminated in 1974 when the Turkish army invaded northern Cyrpus, called Operation Cyprus Peace and Atila with 40,000 troops and 200 tanks. The opposing forces of Greece were heavily outnumbered and had only 5-7000 and 35 old WW2 tanks. Firefights lasted for days and hundreds killed. The Turkish army had decided to secure a slice of the island and called it part of Turkey (Northern Cyprus). The result was that most of the Turks moved to that portion and Greeks to the southern section with Nicosia its capital. The UN manned the Green line. Only the Greek portion is recognized as a country by the UN.
Today, with discussions about reunification, the Greek-Israeli defense pact, the American drilling company, Noble, and huge gas and oil fields under the Mediterrean, Turkey's anger and petulant position about running the Israeli naval blockade at Gaza, where many Turks were killed after being warned, things are on high simmer. Turkey cut off relations with its former friend, went to Egypt to stir up anti-Israeli feelings, threatened to attack Israeli naval ships outside their territorial waters where Israel also has gas and oil rigs drilling, creates a flashpoint. Turkey wants all of Cyprus and its vast oil rich fields at Cyprus block 12, 100 miles off the coast of Israel. Israel's 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas field, Leviathan, is 75 miles from Israel and Noble is in both fields drilling. Turkey is trying so hard to provoke Israel, and so far, Israel has been coy and cool about it refusing not to strike first.
Turkey would like to control the riches of the gas fields to flow through Turkey, not through Greece and the EU.Turkey claims that Cyprus has provoked them by all of a sudden drilling for gas and oil in the Mediterrean, when they could have done it years ago-maybe, maybe not. Yet, Turkey threats to freeze relations with the EU if reunification has not been agreed to by mid-2012.
The bad blood continues to flow..............