Cablegate: Turkey Still Opposes Oil and Gas Exploration Off


DE RUEHAK #1810 2911146
R 171146Z OCT 08

C O N F I D E N T I A L ANKARA 001810


E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/17/2018

REF: 07 ANKARA 2206

Classified By: Economic Counselor Dale Eppler for reasons 1.4 b, d.

1. (C) We met October 16 with Basat Ozturk, DDG for Aviation
and Maritime Affairs at MFA, to discuss Turkey,s position on
oil and gas exploration off the coast of Cyprus. Ozturk said
Turkey,s position has not changed from last year (reftel),
and will not be affected by ongoing talks between the
Government of Cyprus (GOC) and the Turkish Republic of
Northern Cyprus (TRNC). The GOC has not only asserted an
Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), Ozturk said, but also has
tried to extend its continental shelf to cover the same
territory without reaching a delimitation agreement with
Turkey. In Turkey,s view, under both general international
law and the Law of the Sea (to which Turkey is not a party),
Cyprus was obliged to reach a maritime delimitation agreement
with all affected parties, including Turkey, beforehand. It
did not even attempt to do so. Thus, Turkey views the Cypriot
continental shelf claims as illegal. Without a delimitation
agreement in place, Turkey considers all waters more than 12
miles off the coast of Cyprus as "high seas."

2. (C) Ozturk said Cyprus signed a maritime delimitation
agreement with Egypt and negotiated one with Lebanon. Turkey
approached both governments and showed them that under the
Turkish proposal for delimitation of the Eastern
Mediterranean, they would have significantly larger
continental shelves than under the Cypriot plan. In Egypt,s
case, the difference is 12,000 square kilometers. As a
result of these discussions, Egypt withdrew from its
delimitation agreement and the Lebanese have frozen talks
with the Cypriots.

3. (C) Turkey asserts a continental shelf claim to the west
of Cyprus, between 28 degrees east and 32 degrees -- 16
minutes -- 8 seconds east and north of the line at 34 degrees
south. This claim overlaps partially with the Cypriot EEZ.
Within this zone, Ozturk said, Turkey has a "direct national
interest" and will "actively disrupt" any exploration
activity. Ozturk said that "active disruption" did not need
to be via military force. For example, in the case of
seismic work, Ozturk said Turkish fishing vessels might
repeatedly circle the ship and thus prevent it from taking
accurate readings. Ozturk emphasized that Turkey's national
interests in this zone can only be changed by a delimitation
agreement with a future united Cyprus, and are outside the
scope of the GOC-TRNC talks.

4. (C) Beyond its direct interests in this continental shelf
claim area, Ozturk said Turkey has "indirect interests" in
the seabed delimitation off Cyprus on behalf of the TRNC.
Turkey will seek to dissuade companies from doing work in
those areas until there is a final Cyprus settlement. Ozturk
said Turkey has several times successfully dissuaded
companies from bidding on or carrying out exploration in this
zone (see reftel) and will continue to do so.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at ey


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