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Merkel mediation between EU, Turkiye regarding transfer of natural gas

June 1, 2023 at 9:40 am

Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel speaks to press members as she arrives for the first day of EU Leaders’ Summit in Brussels, Belgium on October 21, 2021 [RICCARDO PAREGGIANI/POOL/Anadolu Agency]

International reports revealed that the European Union (EU) would use former German Chancellor Angela Merkel as a mediator between it and Turkiye to facilitate the transfer of natural gas discovered on the Greek Cypriot side, taking advantage of her good relations with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkish newspaper Aksam quoted Greek media stating that Merkel will return to the international political arena as a mediator through the EU’s agreement with Turkiye to transport gas to Europe.

The report indicated that, because of her years of experience in international relations, Merkel would assume the task of mediation between the EU, Germany and Turkiye and that this diplomatic initiative directly concerns Greece.

In December 2021, Merkel handed over power to current Chancellor Olaf Scholz, stating that after leaving office, her priority was taking a break after a 30-year political career.

The Turkish newspaper disclosed that the natural gas, which will significantly reduce Europe’s dependence on Russia for energy, is located in the so-called exclusive economic zone on the Greek Cypriot side, and Turkiye’s permission is required in this case to transfer natural gas to the West.

It added: “The key to liberating Europe from dependence on Russia in the field of energy lies in resolving the Cyprus problem.”

The report also noted that a clause in the agreement states that it will be seen in the coming months whether the plans of Berlin and Brussels will be realised with Merkel’s intervention. However, as diplomatic circles show, if the Cyprus issue reaches a solution, it will be easier to find a solution to the Turkish-Greek problem. Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, and southwest and southeast Crete have huge hydrocarbon deposits that could solve Europe’s energy problem for many years.

READ: Erdogan vows to settle EU discriminatory visa system for Turkiye

Last August, the Cypriot Ministry of Energy disclosed that preliminary estimates indicated a gas discovery off the island of Cyprus containing approximately 2.5 trillion cubic feet (70 billion cubic metres) of natural gas.

According to Euronews, Cypriot Energy Minister Natasa Pilides suggested that the discovery of new gas off the island of Cyprus could accelerate the use of untapped resources and help secure supplies to Europe.

Pilides also indicated that with Russia threatening to cut off gas supplies to the EU, Nicosia is in talks with Brussels to become part of the bloc’s energy plan to reduce dependence on Moscow.

The EU pledged to end dependence on Russian energy supplies after Moscow invaded Ukraine on 24 February, 2022.