World Bulletin / News Desk
As Turkey tries not to be excluded from Eastern Mediterranean gas projects, Greece is already aware that Turkey is the central player in energy projects in the region, experts have said.
The Turkish and Greek governments agreed Saturday to boost energy cooperation during the third meeting of the Turkey-Greece High Level Cooperation Council.
The summit was attended by Turkish Premier Ahmet Davutoglu and his Greek counterpart, Antonis Samaras, in Athens.
Turkey does not want to be excluded from Eastern Mediterranean energy projects, a regional expert, Erdal Tanas Karagol, told The Anadolu Agency. Karagol is director of economy at the Ankara-based Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research.
He emphasized that Greece is aware of Turkey's rising importance with regards to energy developments in the region.
"Putin's idea of having a new gas pipeline through Turkey and the possibility of Kurdish gas flowing into Turkey raise Turkey's significance for Eastern Mediterranean gas projects. Turkey is also the most feasible route for transferring this gas to Europe," Karagol added.
CYPRUS SOLUTION A PRECONDITION
Declarations of determination to solve the issue of gas exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean by Greek and Turkish leaders were just "diplomatic niceties," another expert, Gary Lakes, said. Lakes is the Director of the Energy Program at the European Rim Policy and Investment Council, based in Larnaca, in Greek Administered Southern Cyprus.
He added, "I don't think there is going to be much change until Turkey adjusts its policy."
The conflict between Turkish and Greek Cypriots on the island is ongoing over the ownership of the hydrocarbon reserves in the exclusive economic zones off the shore of the island.
Greek Cypriot efforts to sell hydrocarbons and boost exploration and production activities have upset Turkey, which has said it will not accept such attempts unless a peace agreement is reached on the divided island.
Lakes advised Turkey to engage more with the Eastern Mediterranean energy scene, but said it will not happen easily unless the political problem over Cyprus is solved.
The recently discovered 200 billion cubic meters of natural gas in offshore Cyprus is also considered to be a new catalyst for peace and cooperation in the region.