East Med Pipeline ‘Not a Peace Route’, Turkish Cypriot Leader Warns

Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has said that the pipeline project discussed between Israel, Greece and Cyprus to feed 20 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Europe would not contribute to peace and stability in the region.

In a statement, Akinci said that in terms of energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean, it is not possible to contribute to the peace and stability of the region by excluding the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey.

“This is not a peace route,” Akinci said, adding “Turkish Cypriots also have rights on the natural gas resources on the offshores of Cyprus.”

“To manage this on the basis of mutual benefits and transfer it to Europe via Turkey, as the shortest, cheapest and fastest route to be established in the region, is the most logical [option].

“This is way that suits economic reason and contributes to peace and stability as well as the solution in Cyprus,” Akıncı noted.

The envisioned pipeline that will supply east Mediterranean gas to Europe — the East Med Pipeline Project — would start about 170 kilometers (105 miles) off Cyprus’ southern coast and stretch for 2,200 kilometers (1,350 miles) to reach Otranto, Italy, via Crete and the Greek mainland.

The pipeline, that will take six to seven years to complete, will have the capacity to carry up to 20 billion cubic meters of gas yearly. Europe’s gas import needs are projected to increase by 100 billion cubic meters annually by 2030, The Times of Israel reports.

Greece’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras has called the project “emblematic” of the cooperation between the three countries and said that with cooperation, the Mediterranean would become “a sea of peace”.

The agreement for the East Med Pipeline Project will be signed within 2018, he added.