East Med has sunk for now – the struggle against extractions and war will continue!

We publish below the common statement by the campaign against war and extractions in Turkey-Cyprus-Greece “Kazma Birak-Μας σκάβουν τον λάκκο-Don’t Dig» about the developments in the region.

East Med has sunk for now – the struggle against extractions and war will continue!

The East Med pipeline project has burst like a bubble.

This huge underwater natural gas pipeline was designed to be a mega-project. It would have been the largest in the world both in length and in depth; it would start off in Israel, cross through Cyprus, Crete and Western Greece terminating in Italy in order to supply Europe with natural gas; the project was triumphantly announced by both the SYRIZA and New Democracy governments in Greece. All these plans seem to have gone astray.

And all it took for this to happen was a simple non-paper from the US Department of State communicated to the parties involved. The non-paper formally declared the withdrawal of US support from the East Med pipeline project. This felt like a cold shower for Greek and Cypriot diplomacy. The two governments believed that based on their alliance with the US and Israel, and using the East Med project as a vehicle , they would be able to dominate in the Mediterranean and win points in the context of the competition between the Greek ruling class and the Turkish ruling class. The US non-paper made it clear that the reason for the withdrawal of their support is to promote “stability” in the Mediterranean region. This practically means that since the Turkish ruling class actively demands to be part of any “deal” in the area, no extraction or transportation can proceed with Turkey out of the game.

Economically, the project was considered ambitious from its conception anyway. Either way, the big oil multinational companies are now focusing on more “secure” investments, in proven reserves and in areas where their projects are not in danger of crashing down at any moment due to geopolitical conflicts. At the same time, it is clear that a new Eldorado has opened up for the big energy multinational companies, with the so-called “green energy” investments. Huge subsidies and facilities are being provided to the energy lobby. A new field of profiteering has opened up as an “opportunity” that arises due to the climate crisis.

Finally, and due to the current energy crisis, a part of the investments is already being allocated for the utilization and transportation of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), by building new LNG carriers and regasification plants such as the one in Alexandroupolis.

The environmental movement has a very good reason to feel relieved by the current apparent failure of constructing a pipeline that would have had disastrous environmental consequences for the region. The dozens of anti-mining initiatives built over the past few years have played their part in this development by mobilising local communities, providing them with the relevant information and initiating court cases to defend the environment.

However, it is also a sigh of relief for all the peoples of the region, as the East Med and the claims made around the Exclusive Economic Zones in the Mediterranean by both Erdogan and Tsipras/Mitsotakis/Anastasiades have put our neighborhood at the center of a very dangerous and unpredictable geopolitical game.

The push for oil/gas extractions and the Greek-Turkish conflicts are far from over. Nonetheless, we, as an initiative against extractions and war in Greece – Turkey – Cyprus, consider the freezing of the plans for constructing the East Med pipeline a positive development for the region.

Initiative Against Extractions and War “Μας σκάβουν τον λάκκο – Kazma Birak”

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