Pirates of the Eastern Mediterranean

3 mins read

There is not much going on in government, as Nicosia is busy putting out fires it started with an energy quest that plotted a course of full steam ahead for a confrontation with Turkey.

Yes, Cyprus is a sovereign state with rights to pursue its own path within international law and global norms, but it has entered an unfair fight where it lacks the weaponry to defend itself properly.

Cyprus seems like a small dog that has no conception of its own size; therefore, it will unconsciously bark at bigger canines whom it feels threatened by.

Dogs like my Terry (a Pugalier) have no perception of the fearsome strength that other breeds possess; he likes to show his teeth, but he would get battered in a confrontation with a German shepherd for instance.

Granted, international politics operates on a rather different level but there is no need to guess who the smaller dog is in this scenario of bullyboy gunboat diplomacy that Turkey has undertaken.

Turkey has no qualms about barking up the wrong tree or making a mess all over the Eastern Mediterranean hydrocarbons map.

The more Nicosia tries front-foot regional diplomacy to thwart Turkey’s aggressive behaviour it only makes Ankara angrier which, like the Hulk, turns green with rage and starts smashing everything up.

Fearing a Turkish armada sent to invade the Cypriot EEZ, the government resembles a desperate sheriff sent out to hire a posse to guard against a notorious gunslinger riding into town.

In this unedited version of the Cyprus Western, all the major guns for hire, who can stop this outlaw, are drinking in a Brussels saloon.

At this den of ill repute, there’s a rowdy meeting tasked with issuing a Most Wanted poster for ‘Erdogan the Renegade’.

None of the EU cowboys can decide on the level of ransom for bounty hunters to bring the renegade to justice, so they decide on getting drunk at the bar while the Turks conjure some devious plot against a Town called Cyprus.

Many scared folks in the frontier town believe the only option is to call the seventh cavalry for assistance but Egypt and Israel have more pressing matters.

The government has tried to convince that quiet diplomacy and its influential network of regional alliances is spinning a web of defence that Erdogan will be unable to penetrate.

These diplomatic fortifications crumbled when Ankara sent the drillship Yavuz straight into Cyprus waters off Limassol where it plans to explore for gas in block 8.

It is one of the blocks in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone that are supposedly ring-fenced by international treaties and untouchable by law.

Nicosia has denounced Turkey as a “pirate state” for such actions while assuming all it needs is very good lawyers to defeat the enemy as if this was an episode of Suits or Boston Legal.

Turkey and the Matrix

Maybe, someone should tell the President that Turkey doesn’t do courtroom dramas as it believes the rules of the game are fluid like the Matrix.

Things have got so bad back at Dodge City that Anastasiades had to call in a favour from the Germans by politely requesting that Angela Merkel firmly reprimand Erdogan by telling him to immediately stop being a naughty boy.

If this is our secret weapon in the energy wars, then the only gas Cyprus will produce is going to come from eating badly baked humble pie.

To make matters worse, the government spokesman accused Turkey of stealing sensitive technological data that allowed it to pinpoint where to drill in block 8.

He later retracted this claim as a ‘slip of the tongue’ as it transpired that a ministry website had inadvertently posted some data in 2017 before being told to take it down days afterwards.

If Cyprus expended its resources in coming up with solutions to ease climate change by investing in renewable energy sources, it would not need to rely on the gas that Turkey is trying to take from it.

Officials should have realised that a rescue posse is not going to come running down the mountain to save Cyprus from being kept hostage by bandits of the sea.

The government should also be considering a clean exit strategy because playing call my bluff with Turkey will not end well.

A divided island is the root cause to many of these ills and we’ve strayed so far from the path of reunification finding the way back feels like walking the plank.