Wednesday, Jul 15

US legislation giving short shrift to Turkey passes hurdle

Turkey wants energy to serve as an incentive for a political resolution on the island and peace in the wider Mediterranean basin rather than a catalyst for further tensions.
26.06.2019 - 15:37

Legislation giving short shrift to Turkey’s strategic importance in the eastern Mediterranean and its longstanding alliance with Washington has passed a key US Senate hurdle.

WASHINGTON HAS PASSED A KEY US SENATE HURDLE

Sponsored by Democrat Bob Menendez, the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act says it intends to "update the United States’ strategy in the Eastern Mediterranean to meet new challenges and opportunities."

But in championing the legislation, which passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, Menendez said “Israel, Greece, and [Greek] Cyprus are key partners of the United States," forgetting and ignoring the US’ over six-decade strategic alliance with Turkey in the NATO bloc.

The legislation would pave the way for the US to "fully support the trilateral partnership of Israel, Greece, and [Greek] Cyprus through energy and defense cooperation initiatives including by lifting the prohibition on arms transfers to the Republic of [Greek] Cyprus," said Menendez’s statement.

The controversial legislation, which spurns Turkey's sovereign rights to resources in the region, could further escalate tension between Washington and Ankara at a time when Turkish officials have already said they will not allow unilateral and arbitrary activities in its region.

Turkey says its hydrocarbon drilling activities, a recent source of tension in the Eastern Mediterranean, are based on its legitimate rights stemming from international law.