EastMed: Turkey's Two-Pipeline Scenario's and Electric Cable

EastMed pipeline ENI

The Americans seem to be pushing for two alternatives after freezing their support for the EastMed pipeline project between Greece, Cyprus and Israel. The scenario that has fallen on the table requires the implementation of two pipelines.

The first will start from Egypt and will go to Greece, while it will end in another EU member state. At the same time, the second pipeline will start from Israel in the direction of Turkey.

This is supported by our diplomatic sources and analysts, while the architect of the new design is Amos Hochstein, a security advisor to the US State Department.

"Hochstein is said to be the author of the non-paper that withdrew US support for the pipeline, while a few years ago he also reportedly designed a pipeline from Israel to Turkey," Professor Pampos Chrysostomou at the Cyprus University of Technology said.

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"Is it a coincidence that at this juncture, Erdoğan is soon waiting for his Israeli counterpart in Turkey, announcing plans for gas issues?" is the question he asks.

It makes sense, however, that the State Department's current Energy Security Adviser was publicly reporting against the EastMed before taking up his current position.

In an article in the Jerusalem Post, citing a documentary broadcast by a Turkish state channel, Hochstein allegedly said he would feel "extremely uncomfortable with the US supporting this project" because of its environmental impact.

The pipeline plan was “totally driven by politics,” but “multibillion-dollar deals should be driven by the commercial side,” he added.

But according to Chrysostom, the United States did not want to upset Turkey for a number of reasons.

"On their scales, the US, instead of helping the integration of Greece and Cyprus in the energy plans, chose not to upset Turkey and to embrace its objections, canceling the pipeline," the professor said.

"Cyprus is a big loser, which apparently is not part of any planning at the moment, while it had significant chances to get out of the East Med pipeline," he emphasised.

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As it became clear during the meeting of the American ambassador in Athens with the Greek Minister of Energy, the US fully supports the work of the EuroAsia interconnector, ie the electrical interconnection of Greece, Cyprus, Israel via a submarine electric cable.

The project concerns the construction of a submarine cable with a carrying capacity of 2,000 MW and a total length of approximately 1,200 km, while it is expected to allow two-way electricity transmission.

"But there is a contradiction here... While Turkey is causing geopolitical problems for the pipeline, how will it allow the same countries to cooperate with one cable?" wondered the director of Research and International Relations at the Cyprus University of Technology.

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"It seems that the Turks, after securing US support for the non-implementation of the pipeline, are giving much less geopolitical importance to the electric cable that will simply carry electricity in both directions," Chrysostom added.

It is recalled that the Memorandum of Understanding between Greece, Cyprus and Israel for the electrical interconnection of the three countries through the cable was signed in March 2021.

However, it has come to the fore again in the few last days because of the cancellation of the pipeline.

The project also has European "blessings", as was announced by the European Commission, 657 million euros are expected to be allocated for the EuroAsia interconnector project.

READ MORE: Cyprus, Israel and Greece on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding for the EuroAsia Interconnector.