The hopes of a solution to the Cyprus issue ran high during the negotiations in Crans Montana, Switzerland, only to be swiftly extinguished by Turkey’s insistence to maintain a military presence and intervention rights on the island. Negotiations came to an end on July 7th and now the attention is focused on the energy game.

The hydrocarbon deposits in the southern waters of Cyprus are what incited the unification talks after all. The Turkish-Cypriot side wants a cut, but Turkey is not so willing to lose its privileges. So they do whatever is possible to disrupt or stop the exploitation of the reserves in the waters south of the Cyprus Republic as a means of pressure.

The beginning of drilling operations by the French company Total in block 11 in mid July raised the tensions in the area after the failed talks.

Turkey sees the exploitation of the natural gas reserves in the area as a unilateral move from the Greek-Cypriot side, a national entity they don’t recognize.

For that reason they have dispatched warships to monitor the drilling operations.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, after a Turkish invasion as a response to a Greek-led coup against Archbishop Makarios. Turkey used its status as a guarantor on the island and invaded with the pretext of the protection of the Turkish-Cypriot minority.

Since then the island is divided with a the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus holding 36% on the north side. TRNC is an entity that is recognized only by Turkey, while the international community considers those areas a part of the Republic of Cyprus.

The two parts of the island are divided by a UN buffer zone.