Israel, Greece and Cyprus Sign Trilateral Gas Pipeline Construction Agreement

The agreement builds upon an August 2013 agreement between the three nations to link their electrical grids and a January 2016 Israel-Greece-Cyprus Trilateral Summit Declaration reinforcing their respective nations’ access to vast natural gas fields situated in the Mediterranean in close proximity to their countries. Like the 2013 and 2016 agreements, Turkey conspicuously is excluded. While strains between Turkey and the three signatory nations are common, tensions escalate further as a result of the deal. The intention of the pipeline is to transport Israeli, Greek, and Cypriot natural gas from the Eastern Mediterranean to European Union markets. These are markets currently dominated by Russian gas companies that often use Turkey as a transport hub. The six billion Euro, 1,300 mile pipeline will cut into Russia’s 40% market share of natural gas sold to EU states; as well as Turkey’s profits derived from helping to transport this in-demand, costly and volatile natural resource. Further catalyzing regional strains surrounding the pipeline is Turkey’s contentious maritime border agreement with Libya, which lays Turkish claims to areas of the Mediterranean that the future pipeline might cross.