It seems as if Turkey is intent on ignoring the rule of international law, the European Union and its allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation when it comes to its illegal oil and gas exploration efforts off the coast of Cyprus.
Once more, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is displaying his inordinate arrogance and ignorance of historical and economic boundaries by insisting that a drilling ship from his nation can effectively act as a modern-day pirate ship scouring for energy sources in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The reality is that since the 1974 invasion by Turkish paratroopers to carve off a rump state of the north of Cyprus, Turkey is the only state to recognise the integrity of its vassal state.
This crisis is no longer just a localised spat between neighbours in a quiet backwater of the Mediterranean. Turkey, as a long-standing member of Nato, has a responsibility to abide by the rule of law and diplomatic channels — and the arrogance displayed under President Erdogan’s rule fails to meet those standards of behaviour and decorum
As such, it has no standing in international law — and to base a drilling claim on its military occupation of a corner of the island does how hold water. Simply put, it’s stretching credulity to suggest it has the right to explore in waters that are Cypriot.
Tensions have been running high in the area for several years and the states were raised even more when Greece put its military and naval forces on alert. France too has moved naval assets into the area in a clear sign that Ankara’s interference and blatant disregard for the rule of law will not be tolerated. Nor should it.
Misguided foreign policy interventions
President Erdogan oversees a nation that he has increasingly brought under his autocratic rule. It’s economy and currency are failing, and his misguided foreign policy interventions can only be viewed as the act of a leader desperate to cast the awkward limelight elsewhere, lest it show his many failings domestically.
This crisis is no longer just a localised spat between neighbours in a quiet backwater of the Mediterranean. Turkey, as a long-standing member of Nato, has a responsibility to abide by the rule of law and diplomatic channels — and the arrogance displayed under President Erdogan’s rule fails to meet those standards of behaviour and decorum.
The issue is under serious discussion in Brussels by a European leadership long irritated by the erratic actions of Erdogan. In the United States too, Ankara’s actions have not gone unnoticed.
Former US Vice President Joe Biden, the front-runner in November’s presidential election, has issued a stern rebuke to the Turkish leadership, warning that it needs to be reined in as a matter of urgency and expediency. We couldn’t agree more.