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North Korea warns Donald Trump: don’t provoke us ahead of the Kim-Trump summit

North Korea accuses Donald Trump of ‘ruining the atmosphere’ by making false claims ahead of the talks

Alexander Mercouris

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A year ago the situation in the Korean Peninsula appeared to be sliding rapidly towards war, with North Korea pressing ahead with its ballistic missile and nuclear tests, with Donald Trump, the US’s newly elected and highly inexperienced President tweeting threats of military action, with General H.R. McMaster, Donald Trump’s hawkish National Security Adviser lobbying for military action, and US fleets moving backwards and forwards towards the Korean Peninsula alongside wild talk that they might be about to be used in action.

A year later the mood is transformed.

Kim Jong-un – North Korea’s much demonised Great Leader – has now held successful summit meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and is negotiating the terms of a summit meeting with US President Donald Trump.

Meanwhile North and South Korea have fielded a joint Olympic team at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, North Korea has announced a freeze of its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programme, and the leaders of the two Koreas – Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in – have publicly committed themselves to negotiating a peace treaty between their two countries and to the total denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

What changed?

Firstly, it is clear that the major moves since the start of the year have come from Kim Jong-un.   It was he who proposed that North Korean athletes participate in the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, who sent his sister to attend the Games, who received a high powered South Korean delegation in Pyongyang, and who has now had highly successful summit meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing and with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Panmunjom

President Trump and his officials obviously claim it was the mounting sanctions pressure on North Korea.

The North Koreans strongly reject this and say that by repeatedly making this claim President Trump and his officials are ‘poisoning’ the mood in advance of the Kim-Trump summit.  A recent North Korean statement makes the point in trenchant terms

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea gave the following answer to a question put by KCNA on Sunday as regards the U.S. increased pressure against the DPRK:

Recently, the U.S. is misleading the public opinion, arguing as if the DPRK’s clarification of its intention for denuclearization of the Korean peninsula made through the Panmunjom Declaration adopted at the historic north-south summit is the result of so-called sanctions and pressure.

At the same time, it is making open remarks that it would not ease the sanctions and pressure until the DPRK gives up its nuclear weapons completely and also moving to aggravate the situation on the Korean peninsula by deploying strategic assets on the peninsula and increasing its attempt of taking up “human rights” issue against the DPRK.

The U.S. is deliberately provoking the DPRK at the time when the situation on the Korean peninsula is moving toward peace and reconciliation thanks to the historic north-south summit and the Panmunjom Declaration. This act cannot be construed otherwise than a dangerous attempt to ruin the hardly-won atmosphere of dialogue and bring the situation back to square one.

It would not be conducive to addressing the issue if the U.S. miscalculates the peace-loving intention of the DPRK as a sign of “weakness” and continues to pursue its pressure and military threats against the latter.

The reality is that though the sanctions have undoubtedly hurt the North Korean economy, China and Russia have consistently refused to cut off crude oil deliveries to North Korea, limiting the amount of pain the sanctions are causing.

All the reports of Kim Jong-un’s discussions with the South Korean dignitaries, with Chinese President Xi Jinping and with South Korean President Moon Jae-in  speak of him being in a confident and even buoyant mood, a fact which speaks against him having been forced into negotiations he didn’t want.

All the indications in fact are that Kim Jong-un on the contrary feels that North Korea’s successful development of intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons have put him in a position of strength.  That is why he has now acted to start negotiations with China, South Korea and the US, as he seeks to cash in the advantage North Korea’s ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons have given him.

In fact this has almost certainly been the North Korean game plan right from the start, with the North Koreans having decided a decade ago that they would not be able to force the US to the negotiating table until and unless they were seen to possess intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.

As to what facts has spurred the blizzard of initiatives which have poured out of Pyongyang over the last few months, they are in fact almost certainly traceable to two events which took place last year.

The first was China’s confirmation in August 2017 that it would defend North Korea in the event that the US were to launch a military attack on North Korea intended to overthrow the government there.

I discussed this Chinese commitment to defend North Korea in an article for The Duran dated 11th August 2017.  In it I said the following

Yesterday in an article for The Duran I said that China’s patience with the US was almost exhausted and the Global Times editorial straightforwardly says this, putting the US on the same level of childishness as North Korea and saying that China has given up hope of persuading these two countries to start behaving like grown-ups.  It says that in light of this “reckless” behaviour by both sides – with the greater onus to behave responsibly being however first and foremost on the US since it is by far the stronger party – China is obliged to make clear to both sides what its red lines are

Beijing is not able to persuade Washington or Pyongyang to back down at this time. It needs to make clear its stance to all sides and make them understand thatwhen their actions jeopardize China’s interests, China will respond with a firm hand.

(bold italics added)

Then comes the clear statement of what the red lines are, and what in the event of armed conflict China will do

China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten US soil first and the US retaliates, China will stay neutral.If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.

(bold italics added)

In other words if North Korea is so stupid as to launch an unprovoked attack on the US – which in this context probably covers the wild and reckless North Korean threat to launch a missile demonstration against Guam – it is on its own.  However if the US attacks North Korea – either as part of some ‘pre-emptive’ strategy or in order to achieve regime change there, China will come to North Korea’s defence.

The Global Times editorial – wisely – does not spell out what China would in that case do.  However since the discussion is one of war the necessary implication must be that in the event of a US attack on North Korea China will respond militarily.

Probably that response will be graduated and will depend on how severe the US attack on North Korea might be.  However since the editorial says that the survival of the North Korea is a matter of Chinese national interest, the necessary implication must be that in the event of a straightforward US-South Korean invasion of North Korea to achieve regime change there the Chinese response would be direct intervention by the Chinese armed forces to prevent that happening.

China and North Korea have a defence treaty which they agreed with each other in 1961 and which is still active.  Article 2 of the treaty reads as follows

The Contracting Parties undertake jointly to adopt all measures to prevent aggression against either of the Contracting Parties by any state. In the event of one of the Contracting Parties being subjected to the armed attack by any state or several states jointly and thus being involved in a state of war, the other Contracting Party shall immediately render military and other assistance by all means at its disposal.

The Global Times editorial of August 2017 which I discussed in my 11th August 2017 article reaffirmed that China would fulfil its commitment to North Korea under article 2 of the 1961 treaty, something which because of the increasing strain in Chinese-North Korean relations many had started to doubt.

That gave Kim Jong-un and his advisers the vital guarantee of China’s continued commitment to North Korea’s continued independence which they needed in order to press ahead with their opening to the US and to South Korea.

The second event was the coming to power in South Korea of Moon Jae-in, who won South Korea’s Presidential election of 9th May 2017 following the impeachment and removal from office of South Korea’s hardline and (as it turned out) corrupt previous President, Park Geun-hye, the daughter of South Korea’s former dictator Park Chung-hee.

That provided Kim Jong-un with a South Korean leader known to favour dialogue with North Korea whom he could negotiate with as a partner.

The result is North Korea’s proposal for an end to the state of war which has existed in the Korean Peninsula since the 1940s, its proposal for a process of reconciliation and peaceful reintegration of the two Koreas, and lastly its proposal for the total denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, which the North Koreans are quite clear must include the removal of US nuclear forces from the Korean Peninsula as well as their own.

There is also no doubt that the long term plan of the North Koreans (and of the Chinese and the Russians) is to see US military forces removed from South Korea in their entirety.

Donald Trump has publicly ruled that out, as has the South Korean government.  That some people within the South Korean government are however willing to at least consider that possibility has however been confirmed by an article by South Korean Presidential adviser Moon Chung-in which reportedly said that the continued presence of US troops in South Korea would be “difficult to justify” if the two Koreas agreed a peace treaty between them.

As I have previously discussed, diplomatic moves to break the impasse in the Korean conflict first became visible in September and October when a senior North Korean diplomat, Choe Son Hui, engaged in high level contacts in the Foreign Ministry in Moscow.   Anyone who observed those moves closely – and subsequent diplomatic moves involving South Korea and China – would not have been surprised by the sudden breakthrough at the start of the year.

The key to the end of the Korean conflict is not as many insist in sorting out the differences between North Korea and the US.  Rather it is in achieving a reconciliation between the two Koreas.  It is that process which is now underway, and which took a further major step forward in the Kim-Moon summit in Panmunjom.

Neither North Korea nor South Korea have any wish or desire to exclude the US from the discussions, and nor do the other Great Powers which are involved in the conflict: China and Russia.

On the contrary the intention is to replace the present state of war on the Korean Peninsula with a peace treaty of which the US and China would be co-guarantors, with the US and China participating with the two Koreas in what would in effect be a supplemental security treaty.

However, as I have said in the past, if the US digs in its heels and makes demands which appear to obstruct the course of peace in the Korean Peninsula, then North and South Korea and China are perfectly capable of moving ahead with the peace process by themselves without the formal participation of the US.

Not only does the danger of war in the Korean Peninsula create an incentive for such a thing to happen, but the benefits of peace for the two Koreas are so obvious and so strong that if the US tries to impede the process they are highly likely to continue without it.

Suffice to say that directly after his meeting with Kim Jong-un South Korean President Moon Jae-in telephoned Russian President Putin not only to brief him about the talks but in order to obtain Putin’s assurance that the long proposed rail and pipeline projects linking the Korean Peninsula with the rest of Eurasia will immediately proceed as soon as a peace treaty between the two Koreas is in place.

That assurance Putin was fully able – even anxious – to give, as the detailed report of the conversation between him and Moon Jae-in provided by the Kremlin website confirms

The President of the Republic of Korea provided a detailed account of his meeting with the DPRK leader Kim Jong-Un in Panmunjom and its outcomes.

During the conversation, the two sides gave a positive assessment to the agreements that were reached at the meeting, with special focus on the provision in the Panmunjom Declaration stating the intention to achieve the full denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula. The two presidents expressed confidence that coordinated steps to promote cooperation between the two Koreas would help the region move toward peace and stability.

Vladimir Putin reaffirmed Russia’s readiness to continue facilitating practical cooperation between the Republic of Korea and the DPRK, including through major trilateral projects in infrastructure and energy.

Vladimir Putin stressed the importance for all the parties concerned to keep up their efforts to achieve a political and diplomatic settlement, including by following the principles set forth in the Russia-China roadmap for a settlement on the Korean Peninsula.

The two presidents also discussed topical bilateral matters focusing on ways of expanding mutually beneficial cooperation in various areas. They also agreed on a schedule of future top-level contacts.

(bold italics added)

The North Korean statement accusing Donald Trump and his officials of ‘poisoning the atmosphere’ in advance of the Kim-Trump summit should be seen for it is: a warning to Donald Trump that his position in advance of the talks is not as strong as he appears to think it is and that he should not overplay his hand.

Conciliatory noises from South Korea – such as the frankly bizarre suggestion that Donald Trump should be given the Nobel Peace Prize – do not erase this warning.

Donald Trump will be given all the plaudits he wants – and more arguably than he deserves – if supports the peace process which is now underway.

He risks being isolated and the US marginalised if instead he obstructs it.

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Theresa May’s soft Brexit plan continues to fail, as EU now pushing for UK to leave (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 138.

Alex Christoforou

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Theresa May’s soft Brexit strategy has been such a monumental failure that even Brussels negotiators are now pushing for the UK to simply leave the union, in what has becoming a British debacle, and a thorn in the Conservative Party’s side.

Many media pundits and analysts are now asking if the latest impasse in Brexit talks means that we are indeed seeing the last days of Theresa May?

While much of the mess the Conservative Party finds themselves in because of Brexit is squarely Theresa May’s fault, much of the damage done by May’s inability to close the deal on Brexit will not go away, even if she does.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss Theresa May’s continued failure to obtain her soft Brexit dream, placing herself (and her Conservative Party) in such an embarrassing position, that European Union negotiators, tired of never ending talks, are eager to see Britain go away, in what will be an inevitable hard Brexit.

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“Are these the last days of Theresa May?”, authored by Stephen Bush via The New Statesman:


Are these the last days of Theresa May? This morning’s papers are full of stories of plots and ultimatums to the Prime Minister unless she changes her Brexit strategy, whether from her Scottish MPs over any extension of the transition period due to concerns over fisheries policy, from her Brexiteer MPs over the backstop or from her Cabinet over practically everything.

All this before the Budget next Monday, when Philip Hammond is going to have to find some way to pay for the extra cash for the NHS and Universal Credit all while keeping to May’s pledge that debt will continue to fall as a share of GDP. So added to all May’s Brexit woes, a row over tax rises could be coming down the track.

Of course, the PM’s position has been perilous for a very long time – in fact, when you remember that her period of hegemony ran from July 2016 to June 2017, she’s actually been under threat for more of her premiership than she hasn’t. But just because you roll heads 36 times in a row doesn’t mean your chances of rolling tails aren’t 50/50 on roll 37, and May’s luck could well be running out.

But while May shares a good size of the blame for the mess that the Conservative Party are in, it’s not all her fault by any means and none of those problems will go away if May is replaced or changes tack to win over her internal opponents in the European Research Group.

Ireland has a veto over the end state and only an indefinite and legally binding backstop for the island of Ireland will do if any deal is to be signed off. It’s true to say that no deal also means a hard border on the island of Ireland, but it’s also true that it will always been in the political interests of whoever is in office in Ireland for a hard border to be imposed as a result of no deal rather than for the Irish government to acquiesce in the creation of one through a EU-UK treaty.

The DUP can bring the Conservative government to an early end so they, too, have a de facto veto over any deal that creates barriers between Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom. But the only UK-wide solution – for the backstop to encompass the whole of the United Kingdom – is nothing doing with pro-Brexit Conservative MPs who don’t want an indefinite backstop. It’s also politically tricky with many EU member states, who don’t want the default outcome of the talks to be a UK-wide backstop, which many regard as a threat to the sanctity of single market. (The only reason why it is acceptable on the Irish border is because Ireland is still a member state and because the Irish border was both the location and the cause of political violence within living memory.)

Added to that, the Conservative parliamentary party seems to be undergoing a similar psychological journey to the one that Steve van Riel described during the 2015 Labour leadership election: that groups of any kind tend to reach a more extreme position the longer an issue is debated. Brexiteers who spent 20 years saying they wanted a Norway style deal now talk of Norway as a betrayal. Leavers who cheerily talked about making Northern Ireland into its own customs area before Brexit now talk of the backstop as a constitutional betrayal. And Conservative Remainers who only reluctantly backed an In vote to avoid the political upheaval of negotiating Brexit, or the loss of David Cameron, now call for a referendum re-run and privately flirt with the idea of a new party.

Some of that is May’s fault, yes. But none of it is going to go away if she does and all of it makes the prospect of reaching a Brexit deal considerably less likely.

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Saudi Crown Prince Spoke To Khashoggi By Phone Moments Before He Was Killed: Report

The shifting Saudi narrative of the killing has been met with scepticism and condemnation from the international community.

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Via Zerohedge


In the latest bombshell report involving the Khashoggi murder, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly spoke on the phone with journalist Jamal Khashoggi moments before he was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish pro-government daily Yeni Safak disclosed the new alleged details of the case in a report on Sunday, contradicting claims by Saudi authorities that Prince Mohammed played no part in Khashoggi’s murder.

“Khashoggi was detained by the Saudi team inside the consulate building. Then Prince Mohammed contacted Khashoggi by phone and tried to convince him to return to Riyadh,” the report said.

“Khashoggi refused Prince Mohammed’s offer out of fear he would be arrested and killed if he returned. The assassination team then killed Khashoggi after the conversation ended,” it added.

While the report is so far unconfirmed, the New Arab reports that so far Turkish pro-government media have been receiving a steady stream of leaks many of which turned out to be accurate, including pictures of the hit team as they entered Turkey and reports of audio recordings of the murder said to be in the possession of Turkish authorities.

Meanwhile, the Saudi version of events has been changing significantly over the past two weeks with authorities conceded Saturday that Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist and a Riyadh critic, was killed inside the kingdom’s Istanbul diplomatic compound following a “brawl”. The admission came after a fortnight of denials with the insistence that the journalist left the consulate alive, starting on October 5, when Crown Prince MBS told Bloomberg that Khashoggi was not inside the consulate and “we are ready to welcome the Turkish government to go and search our premises”.

On Saturday, the kingdom announced it had fired five top officials and arrested 18 others in an investigation into the killing – a move that has widely been viewed as an attempt to cover up the crown prince’s role in the murder.

The shifting Saudi narrative of the killing has been met with scepticism and condemnation from the international community, and has left the U.S. and other allies struggling for a response on Sunday. As Bloomberg reports, France demanded more information, Germany put arms sales to Riyadh on hold and the Trump administration stressed the vital importance of the kingdom and its economy to the U.S.

In Sunday radio and TV interviews, Dominic Raab, the U.K. politician in charge of negotiating Britain’s exit from the European Union, described the latest Saudi account as not credible; French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire called for “the truth’’; and Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said his government would approve no arms sales so long as the investigation was ongoing.

Earlier on Sunday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir acknowledged a cover-up attempt. The dramatic reversal, after Saudi officials had previously said the columnist left the building alive, has only complicated the issue for allies.

Saudi Arabia’s al-Jubeir told Fox News on Sunday that the journalist’s death was an “aberration.”

“There obviously was a tremendous mistake made and what compounded the mistake was the attempt to cover up,” he said, promising that “those responsible will be punished for it.”

More importantly, he said that Prince Mohammed had no knowledge of the events, although if the Turkish report is confirmed, it will be yet another major flaw with the official narrative.

Several senior members of US President Donald Trump’s Republican Party said they believed Prince Mohammed was linked to the killing, and one called for a “collective” Western response if a link is proved. In an interview with The Washington Post, President Trump, too, said the Saudi narrative had been marked by “deception and lies.’’ Yet he also defended Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as a “strong person,’’ and said there was no proof of his involvement in Khashoggi’s death. Some members of Congress have questioned his willingness to exonerate the prince.

“Obviously there’s been deception and there’s been lies,” Trump said on the shifting accounts offered by Riyadh.

On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to disclose details about the case at a meeting of his AK Party’s parliamentary faction on Tuesday, Haberturk newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, as Western firms and high-ranked officials scramble to avoid any Saudi involvement, Russia is more than happy to step in and fill the power vacuum void left by the US. As a result, Russian businesses are flocking to attend the investment forum in Saudi Arabia, as Western counterparts pull out.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has had considerable success boosting Moscow’s influence in the Middle East at U.S. expense, by standing by regimes that fall afoul of the West, including in Syria and Iran. Last week Putin signed a strategic and partnership agreement with Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, backed by $25 billion in loans to build nuclear reactors. Until El-Sisi came to power, Egypt had been closely allied to the U.S.

Meanwhile, all eyes are fixed squarely on the Crown Prince whose position of power is looking increasingly perilous. Congressional leaders on Sunday dismissed the story proffered earlier by the Saudis, with Republican Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bob Corker of Tennessee saying they believed the crown prince was likely involved in Khashoggi’s death.

Lawmakers said they believe the U.S. must impose sanctions on Saudi Arabia or take other action if the crown prince is shown to have been involved. Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the chamber’s No. 2 Democrat, said the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. should be formally expelled until a third-party investigation is done. He said the U.S. should call on its allies to do the same.

“Unless the Saudi kingdom understands that civilized countries around the world are going to reject this conduct and make sure that they pay a price for it, they’ll continue doing it,”’ Durbin said.

The obvious question is what happens and how the Saudi royal family will respond if it is pushed too far, and whether the worst case scenario, a sharp cut in oil exports, could be on the table if MBS feels like he has little to lose from escalating the situation beyond a point of no return.

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The Biggest Winners In The Mediterranean Energy War

Energy companies are flocking to the Mediterranean after oil and gas discoveries in the territorial waters of Israel, Cyprus, and Egypt.

The Duran

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Authored by Vanand Meliksetian via Oilprice.com:


Former Vice-President of the United States Dick Cheney once said: “the good lord didn’t see fit to put oil and gas only where there are democratically elected states… Occasionally we have to operate in places where, all considered, one would not normally choose to go. But we go where the business is.” Europe is surrounded by states with abundant energy resources, but supply from these countries is not always as reliable. Russia, for example, is regularly accused of using energy as a weapon. However, major discoveries of gas in the Eastern Mediterranean could mitigate dependence on Russian gas.

The discovery of a gas field named Tamar near the coast of Israel in 2009 set off a wave of investments in the energy sector. After 9 years, companies are flocking to the region after other discoveries in the territorial waters of Israel, Cyprus, and Egypt. Ever larger finds in the Mediterranean Sea’s Levant Basin such as the Leviathan gas field in 2010 and Zohr in 2015, have the potential to transform the strategic importance of the region.

Turkey’s energy hub ambitions

Few states in the world are geographically so well positioned as Turkey. The country controls Russia’s only warm water port in the Black Sea and serves as a bridge between east and west. Therefore, during the Cold War Ankara was an indispensable member of NATO. More recently, Turkey has the ambition to become an energy hub for Middle Eastern and Caspian energy. Ankara has had mixed successes in attracting investors and maintaining political stability.

After Israel’s significant discoveries, a U.S. backed initiative presented Turkey as an energy hub. Although a land pipeline is the cheapest option to transport gas from the Mediterranean to Europe, political developments have stalled construction. President Erdogan’s escalating public denunciations of Israel have made Jerusalem look for other options. Furthermore, relations with Europe have also been damaged which would be dependent on Turkey as a transit country.

Egypt as the regional gas hub

Egypt’s has the third largest gas reserves in Africa. Therefore, its export-oriented LNG industry came on-stream in 2004 but was shut mid-2013 due to a lack of resources. The growth of the domestic market demanded ever larger volumes, which went at the expense of exports. Instead, Egypt started importing LNG. However, the discovery of the massive Zohr gas field, the largest in the Eastern Mediterranean, has turned around the situation. Egypt imported its last shipment of LNG in September 2018.

Although relations between Egypt and Israel are far from normal, privately held companies have been able to strike a deal. Starting from the first quarter of 2019, in 10 years 64 bcm worth $10 billion will be delivered. The agreement has stirred controversy in Egypt, which until recently was exporting to Israel. However, with this deal, Cairo comes closer in becoming an energy hub.

The recent signing of another agreement, this time with Nicosia to develop a subsea pipeline from Cyprus’ Aphrodite gas field, has been another important step. Cypriot gas will be pumped 400 miles (645 kilometers) to the south to Egypt’s LNG facilities. Difficult relations with Nicosia’s northern neighbors make a pipeline to the north highly unlikely.

Cairo has been able to act pragmatically concerning its relations with its neighbors such as Israel while taking advantage of the limited amount of options for exporting gas. The obvious winner in this context has been Egypt and its LNG industry. Its chances of becoming the regional energy hub instead of Turkey have significantly increased.

Turkey’s hope for luck

All littoral states of the Eastern Mediterranean struck ‘gold’ in the shape of natural gas except for Turkey. Ankara strongly opposes the exploitation of the gas resources in the exclusive economic zone of the Republic of Cyprus without a sharing agreement with Northern Cyprus’ Turkish inhabitants. The Turkish Navy prevented ships from Italy’s Eni from performing exploratory drilling off the coast of the Republic of Cyprus.

In search of its own luck, Ankara has set up a project to start looking for gas in the EEZ of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which is only recognized by Turkey. Kudret Özersay, TRNC deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, proclaimed the desire to turn the TRNC into an energy and electricity hub. However, it seems unlikely that investors will be willing to participate due to political and legal reasons.

The legal situation of the TRNC is an impediment to any major decision involving a longtime commitment worth billions. From an international point of view, the region is de jure part of the Republic of Cyprus, despite holding no control over the region. The TRNC holds no seat in the WTO.

Large investments require solid legal and political support for companies to earn back their investments. The current economic situation of Turkey makes it dependent on foreign money. However, stringent due diligence rules could impede some international banks in lending the necessary funds.

The Eastern Mediterranean Sea basin promises great rewards, but the risks are also high. With Turkey potentially being the only country that doesn’t profit from the gas bonanza, Ankara has acted aggressively to get what it regards as its fair share. However, it faces a united front from the other littoral states of the Eastern Mediterranean. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that Turkey will be able to profit in the same way as Cyprus, Egypt or Israel.

By Vanand Meliksetian for Oilprice.com

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