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Conflict in Cyprus: religion, ethnicity and natural gas pipelines .- Xavier Palacios

The recent discovery of natural gas fields on the Eastern Mediterranean is altering the political equilibrium between the interested countries that have direct interests on the exploration, exploitation and commercialisation of this natural gas. Cyprus is not an exception, and the discovery of the Aphrodite gas field is threatening the fragile political balance between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot governments, as well as the balance between the two countries that historically have played a protective role with both communities, Greece and Turkey.

These two countries and their foreign policies, for ethnic and religious reasons, have influenced on the political history developments that have taken place in Cyprus. Again, and within the context of an energy race, Turkey and Greece appear to go back to the decades of the 1970s and 1990s, whereas both foreign policies were based on territorial, political and military confrontation.

Although a military conflict between Athens and Ankara for the control of the natural gas fields seems remote, this fight is legitimising a political estrangement between the two blocks in Cyprus, complicating even more a peace settlement in this island.

Author: Xavier Palacios

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