Turkey Threatens to Drill for Gas Off Northern Cyprus 'Soon'
As Israel began drilling for natural gas Monday in the eastern Mediterranean, Turkey announced that it, too, may soon begin a deep-sea search for oil and gas, off the coast of northern Cyprus.
Turkey's Energy Minister, Taner Yildiz, described the drilling as a “provocation.” He called on “Greek Cypriots to halt immediately the work with Noble [Energy],”
Yildiz threatened that Turkey would begin its own gas and own exploratory drilling as early as next week, off the northern coast of the island under the Turkish Cypriot administration, if drilling by Cyprus did not stop.
“We can say that Turkish naval ships may escort Turkish seismic survey ships doing exploration in the Mediterranean Sea,” he added. “Oil exploration platforms would follow, but we don't want it to come to that.”
It also follows a stream of bellicose threats by Erdogan against Israel, the most recent warning that Turkish warships could be sent to prevent Israel from moving freely in the eastern Mediterranean “at any time.”
Erdogan threatens Cyprus over offshore drilling
Turkey-Cyprus tensions nearing boiling point? Cyprus announced Monday that it has contracted US-based Noble Energy to do exploratory drilling for oil and gas off the coast of Cyprus despite the area being the center of a dispute it has with Turkey.
Turkey had warned Cyprus against any such move in the past and in a significant escalation of tensions, Ankara said that it would send warships to protect its claims to submarine resources in the area.
Not only that, but we also see this:
"Turkey's frigates, gunboats and its air force will constantly monitor developments in the area," Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, adding that Turkey will begin its own oil and gas search as early as this week.
Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said that unless Cyprus halted the drilling, his country would send its own energy research ship out escorted by the Turkish navy.
It appears that Turkey is looking for any excuse to begin war. This most recent situation may provide just that opportunity.
Top US Intel official in Ankara to head off clash, bring Palestinians to talks
The US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper arrived in Ankara on an urgent surprise visit Sunday night Sept. 18 as Turkish saber-rattling threatened three major US interests.
DEBKAfile's intelligence sources report that Clapper was in Turkey for a last-ditch Obama administration bid to avert sea and air hostilities erupting between Turkey, Greece, Cyprus and Israel in the eastern Mediterranean where tensions have been building up over Turkish threats inter alia against offshore gas exploration by Israel and Cyprus.
On the day of their Cairo conversation, Ankara leaked tough new instructions issued by the Erdogan government to the Turkish Navy to pen Israeli warships inside their 12-mile territorial waters and disable the weapons of any vessels sailing beyond that limit.
James Clapper was also commissioned to caution Turkish leaders against continuing their threatened military brinkmanship in the Mediterranean.
At the same time, we see a renewed effort to escalate tensions in Israel:
PA Terrorists Resume Rocket Attacks on Southern Israel
Palestinian Authority Arab terrorists launched rocket attacks on southern Israel, and rioting on the road further north.
Further north, PA Arab rioters blocked the Cross-Binyamin Highway near the Jewish town of Neve Tzuf.
The rioters hurled rocks, clashing violently with IDF soldiers who were sent to the scene.
It will only take one of these "matches" to ignite the entire region. Will this match be Turkey's navy in the Mediterranean?
Will this match be one too many rockets launched into an Israeli city? Will it be Syria at the Israeli border? Lebanon? Gaza? Hezbollah? Hamas? Egypt?
Name one. It will explode at some point in the near future - probably sooner rather than later, and it will probably be a seemingly minor incident to spark this powder-keg.
Of course, only in God's perfect timing.