Turkey has engaged in preparations to protect its sovereignty as various countries boost military deployments in the Mediterranean using the Syrian war as an excuse, as the Greek administration of the Republic of Cyprus splits energy reserves. In this context, the Turkish Naval Forces Command submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stating that Turkey should establish a naval base in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
To protect sovereign rights
The base will enable the protection of Northern Cyprus’ sovereignty as well as facilitate and fortify Turkey’s rights and interests in the Eastern Mediterranean, preventing the occupation of sea energy fields, and strengthening Turkey’s hand in the Cyprus peace process talks.
It is recommended that the proposed naval base be established as an independent facility, similar to the British base in the region.
Mediterranean teeming with Western powers
Western powers – mainly the U.S. and Britain – working to extend the Syrian war have boosted their military presence in the Eastern Mediterranean. Warships from Russia, France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Canada, Portugal, Greece and Denmark have also anchored in the area.
Arena for energy struggles
The Greek administration of the Republic of Cyprus is working to establish control over the Eastern Mediterranean energy fields.
It is cutting deals with all countries except Turkey, namely Israel, in order to limit Ankara’s naval authority.
Turkey’s precautionary plan is ready
Actors have already started to take sides in the Eastern Mediterranean, which is of critical importance because of its energy reserves worth billions of dollars. The area is also significant because it is a key route in world trade and energy traffic.
Turkey has continued to voice a strong stance against violations in the Eastern Mediterranean on various platforms, and has prepared a precautionary plan.
All eyes on Cyprus
The island of Cyprus is at the center of the oil and trade routes as it stands out with its presence on the energy basin in the Eastern Mediterranean. The island controls the Suez Canal, which connects the Mediterranean with the Indian Ocean.
Cyprus is located on the maritime trade route between the East and West, and controls the transportation routes of Middle Eastern and Central Asian oil, which constitutes more than half of the world’s petroleum.
As a result, Turkey has prepared precautionary measures to implement in the face of any issues that may arise regarding this strategic location in the following years.
Turkey to ensure safety of Northern Cyprus
A Turkish naval base in the area will ensure the safety of the people of Northern Cyprus, and show once more that Ankara stands by the island. The naval base will allow Turkey to protect its rights and interests in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The base will contribute greatly to military precautions taken against the maritime jurisdiction declared by the Greek administration of the Republic of Cyprus, the deals it is dishing out, and the hydrocarbon exploration grants it is allowing by ignoring Turkey and Northern Cyprus.
Air base in Northern Cyprus
Turkey already has the Geçitkale air base in Northern Cyprus. The base was previously home to F-16 fighter jets, but has been closed for an extended period of time. The base could be restored and reopened, however for this to occur, the high voltage line and electricity cables must be moved underground.
Although this matter was once on the agenda, no steps have yet been taken. If the high voltage line is moved underground, it will no longer pose a danger to aircraft landing at the base, thus Geçitkale would become a highly likely candidate for Turkey’s air base in Northern Cyprus.
Turkish base to reduce reaction time
A Turkish base in the region would reduce the reaction time for military and humanitarian action. A naval base established by Turkey would also enable the region to become more peaceful, as it would quell efforts by other actors to stir up unrest.