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Turkey-Cyprus Clash Shows Israel 'Defender of NATO'

Turkey forces Norwegian ship out of Cypriot waters. Analyst says 'Israel is now heart of NATO's southeastern flank.'
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 2/4/2014, 8:16 AM

Turkish Warship TCG Giresun
Turkish Warship TCG Giresun
Reuters

A recent altercation in Cyprus has raised questions about NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) member Turkey. On Saturday, a Norwegian ship exploring for gas in the southern part of Cyprus was forced to leave the area by a Turkish warship.

The Norwegian vessel, MV Princess, was conducting its search for oil and gas on behalf of internationally-recognized Greek Cyprus, located in the southern part of the island. Turkey has refused to recognize Cyprus, forbidding it to search for oil and gas in waters that it claims belong to Turkish Cyprus, which is located in the north of the island and is only recognized by Turkey.

On Saturday evening, Turkey claimed the MV Princess entered a Turkish naval zone, where it was warned by the Turkish warship TCG Giresun and then forced out of the area, reports the Turkish news source Today's Zaman.

Cyprus refused to deterred, announcing on Monday its intentions to complain to the UN over the incident. "This provocative behavior by Ankara in no way affects plans to exploit the hydrocarbons of our country," declared a Cypriot government spokesman.

'Israel is now the heart and soul of NATO's southeastern flank'

Back in 2011, analyst Mark Langfan commented on the threats by Turkey against Cypriot exploration of natural resources, following a joint meeting between Israel, Greece and Cyprus.

At the time, Langfan remarked "people are now acknowledging energy issues in this region of the world with the gravitas that they deserve." Langfan released a set of maps that can be seen here showing that Israel is NATO's only line of defense from Islamic terrorism, as Cyprus and Greece are the nearest NATO-members.

"Without Israel’s order of battle and very existence, it would be impossible for NATO to defend Greece, let alone Cyprus, from a Turkish/Muslim Brotherhood tidal wave which would lay waste to everything in the eastern Mediterreanean," argued Langfan. "Whether NATO likes it or not, Israel is now the heart and soul of NATO’s southeastern flank."

The assessment comes just as Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has suggested that NATO should be left in charge of a future "Palestinian state," replacing IDF control of Judea and Samaria.

Concerns about Turkey have been highlighted recently as the country replaced Iran as the leading sponsor of the terrorist organization Hamas, and has made steps towards an alliance with Iran.

Nevertheless, Israel has offered to pay $20 million in "compensation" to the families of Turkish citizens killed during the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla, which tried to illegally break the IDF blockade on the terror group Hamas in Gaza. Nine Turkish Islamists were killed as they violently attacked IDF soldiers who boarded their ship.