Category Archives: Greece, Grèce

La Grèce, Chypre, l’Italie et Israël signent “Est Med” le nouveau projet de Gazoduc en Méditerranée de l’Est (FR/en)


Les ministres de l’Énergie de l’Italie, la Grèce, Chypre et Israël ainsi que Miguel Arias Canete, Commissaire européen pour l’action sur le climat et l’énergie, se sont engagés,  début  Avril, depuis Tel-Aviv, à faire avancer un projet de gazoduc sous-marin reliant la Méditerranée orientale au sud de l’Europe. Ainsi, tous les six mois, les ministres de l’Energie des pays concernés se réuniront pour le suivi d’un dossier ouvert depuis 2015.

Selon  le Commissaire d’Énergie le projet “satisferait quand même à l’ensemble des conditions requises pour rendre un engagement financier possible.”

M.Canete a aussi noté que Chypre et Israël étaient “très fiables” comme des fournisseurs d’énergie  et que leurs réserves à gaz pourraient faire une contribution de valeur à la stratégie de l’UE “de diversifier les sources, les trajets des gazoducs et les fournisseurs.” Il a admis que ce projet aiderait à limiter la dépendance énergétique via le Nord Stream vis à vis la Russie pour sécuriser la transition d’approvisionnement énergétique au vieux continent.  

gas pipeline network russia europe

Depuis plusieurs années, la Méditerranée orientale est devenue une zone d’exploration gazière très active, notamment après la découverte d’importants gisements gaziers au large d’Israël,  de Chypre et de l’Egypte. 
La Turquie, le Liban et la Syrie comptent bien de ne pas se laisser écartés  dans cette “bataille” de devenir aussi des carrefours énergétiques entre l’Asie et l’Europe.

 Rappelons parallèlement que Chypre est coupée en deux – entre partie occupée par l’armée turque et la partie chypriote – depuis plus de 40 ans.

Développé avec le soutien de l’Union européenne, ce gazoduc baptisé EastMed serait le plus long ( 1 300 km sous-marin et 600 km terrestre) et le plus profond au monde. Il réduira la dépendance de l’Europe au gaz russe tout en permettant un nouveau débouché aux nouveaux champs d’hydrocarbures découverts à l’Est de la Méditerranée et situés au large des côtes israéliennes et chypriotes.

Selon IGI Poseidon – co-entreprise grecque détenue à parts égales par DEPA SA et Edison S.pA. qui détient 100% du projet – le gazoduc pourrait transporter 16 milliards de mètres cubes de gaz par an.

En outre, en décembre 2016, Israël a donné son autorisation pour la vente à la Grèce de deux champs gaziers situés dans la zone, brisant le monopole d’un consortium formé par la compagnie américaine Noble Energy et le groupe israélien Delek. Un accord d’autant plus important qu’ils renforcent les relations entre les gouvernements grecs et israéliens alors qu’Israël mène un projet de construction de gazoducs en Méditerranée, avais-je alors indiqué.

Le chantier devrait coûter 6,2 mrds$ (5,8 mrds€) pour une mise en service en 2025. Les études de faisabilité financière du projet sont déjà finalisées mais devront désormais prendre en compte une nouvelle donnée pour le calcul de la rentabilité : la chute du prix des hydrocarbures.

Précisions de taille : un accord de délimitation des zones économiques exclusives a été conclu le 17 décembre 2010 entre Israël et Chypre, en vue de permettre aux deux pays la poursuite des recherches off-shore d’hydrocarbures de part et d’autre dans la partie orientale de la Méditerranée, de  gigantesques réserves de gaz ayant été alors découvertes dans la zone. Cette entente avait provoqué de vives réactions des pays voisins … Turquie, Syrie, Liban et l’Égypte voyant d’un mauvais œil la volonté hégémonique de l’Etat hébreu sur les gisements récemment découverts.

Selon les contrôles de la commission gouvernementale israélienne mise en place pour gérer un fonds d’exploitation des ventes, les recettes prévues des gisements Léviathan, Tamar et Dalit étaient alors  estimées à 100 voire à 130 milliards de dollars jusqu’en 2040.

Egalement, une haute responsable israélienne a déclaré pour sa part qu’Israël espérait pouvoir exporter du gaz vers la Turquie dès 2021. Israël espère en effet exporter ce gaz vers la Jordanie, l’Europe et la Turquie. Un premier accord a déjà été signé avec Amman en septembre 2016. Selon la responsable israélienne, un accord avec la Turquie devrait être finalisé d’ici l’été 2017.

Selon Hürriyet, tandis qu’Ankara a longtemps espéré que TANAP transformerait la Turquie comme la route principale pour le gaz naturel asiatique du Moyen-Orient et Central en ce qui concerne son acheminement en Europe, les efforts en cours de l’UE afin de diversifier ses voies d’approvisionnement changent l’échiquier d‘énergie dans la zone de Méditerranée Orientale.

Bien que le gazoduc Trans-Med ait été écarté par des analystes comme commercialement impraticable en raison du prix de gaz très bas, plusieurs contrats ont été signés récemment signés entre Chypre et des entreprises d’énergie internationales Le 5 avril, deux jours après le sommet Trans-Med, le Qatar Petroleum et ExxonMobil ont signé une exploration et un contrat en partageant l’exploration et la production avec la République Chypriote au sein du  Bloc 10 dans la zone économique exclusive chypriote.

En mars, le géant d’énergie italien Eni a annoncé qu’il avait acheté les droits d’exploitation à 50% concernant le Bloc 11 qui appartenait à Total S.A. Le bloc 11 est adjacent à la concession Shorouk de l’Égypte dans laquelle Eni a fait l’immense découverte en 2015 du gisement de gaz naturel Zohr qui reste comme la plus grande découverte de gaz naturel en Méditerranée Orientale. Le domaine Zohr de l’Égypte, contient 850 milliards de centimètres cubes de gaz naturel, dont 50 à 60 pour cent peuvent être exploités . Si le réservoir de carbonate de Zohr s’étend à travers la frontière entre l’Égypte et les zones économiques exclusives de Chypre, il y a la possibilité que Chypre a des réserves de gaz naturel majeures dans le Bloc 11.

Eastern Mediterranean EEZ

English:

DW.COM: The planned pipeline – stretching about 2,000 kilometers (1,248 miles) on the bed of the Mediterranean Sea – aims to link gas fields off the coasts of Israel and Cyprus with Greece and possibly Italy, at a cost of up to 6 billion euros ($6.4 billion).
After a meeting in Tel Aviv in early April, between energy ministers from Israel, Cyprus, Greece and Italy, European Climate and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete told reporters he believed the project would “meet all relevant requirements” to make a financial commitment possible.

Canete also noted that Cyprus and Israel were “very reliable” suppliers, and that their gas reserves could make a valuable contribution to the EU’s strategy to “diversify sources, routes and suppliers.”

Canete admitted it would help limit reliance on the Nord Stream pipeline via Russia, which he said “adds nothing to the security of supply.”

  • Sources:AFP, Reuters, L’Orient le Jour, Mondialisation.ca, DW.de, Hurriyet, Keep Talking Greece

Read: iSRAEL, EUROPEAN STATES ADVANCE PLANS FOR WORLD’S LONGEST UNDERWATER GAS PIPELINE

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The Many Faces of Hellenic Identity: Finding the roots … of a Greek Village in Syria


I hope that a radiant smile will  soon be visible on these tired war faces in Syria and especially those of the young syrian children born into war conditions.

For Roula Tsokalidou, of the University of Thessaly, the Greek language enjoys special prestige in the Eastern Mediterranean area, both as a medium of commercial transactions and as an instrument of upward social mobility. It is a language which it is used to establish closer relations, for both professional and educational purposes, with a European country, which, nevertheless, is geographically and culturally close to the Middle East.

Touched by the Mediterranean Sea and all the delights that an Arabic country can offer, Al Hamidiyah is a small village that is not much different to any other found in Syria. Except its population speaks Greek. (Video in English:)

Before the war there were over 1 million Syrian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox worshipers – a phenomenal statistic in a strong Muslim country. This is a legacy of the Byzantine Greek presence in Syria. The Greek Orthodox Church is known as the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East (formerly a Syrian city that is now in Turkey). It is the successor to the church founded by Apostles Peter and Paul. The church is now based in Damascus.

Al Hamidiyah is a town on the coastal Syrian line about 3km from the Lebanese border. The town was founded in a very short time on direct orders from the Turkish Sultan ‘Abdu’l-Hamid II circa 1897, to serve as refuge for the Muslim Cretans fleeing the ethnic cleansing in Crete in the aftermath of the departure of Turkish troops from the island.

The community, though living away from Crete (and Greece) for over a century, still speaks a Cretan dialect and has held on to Greek customs. They keep up with Greek politics, current events, and entertainment by catching the Cyprus TV signal on their satellites.

Crete fell to the Turks in the sixteenth century, after long and stubborn resistance from the Venetians who had ruled the island until then. In the following centuries, many Cretans changed their religion, converting to the doctrines of Islam and becoming Alevites, the dominant religious sect among the Turks. In those days, it was not uncommon for people to change religions back and forth, following the tides of constant rebellion against the Ottoman Empire.

It was 1866 when the final revolution in Crete broke out, eventually culminating in the Greco-Turkish War of 1897.

Cretan rebels clashed with the occupying Ottoman army, seeking independence and union with Greece. The island was torn by strife and fratricide. As before, religion divided many Cretan families. The Ottomans employed bands of armed Muslim fanatics, some of whom were native Cretans, who rampaged through Christian villages.

To some, it seemed that allegiance to religion surpassed allegiance to one’s nation. And yet, there were many among the Cretan Muslims who fought beside their Christian brothers against the common foreign enemy.

cretan muslim

Despite this, many Christians came to regard Muslims as their arch enemies, regardless of common bloodlines. After the final withdrawal of the Ottoman army from Crete, most Cretan Muslims fled the island, fearful of revenge.

The last Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Abdul Hammid, provided them with a safe haven on the Syrian coast, in a village named after him-Hamidiyah. Almost 100 years have passed since then.The Hamediyahians are Syrian citizens, fully integrated into their host society.

Many of them fought in the Six Day War, as well as in Lebanon, and were duly decorated for their bravery. They do, however, keep their distinct identity as Cretans. They speak Greek to each other in their everyday conversations. Their instincts and aspirations are also different from their surrounding fellow-Syrians.

They are extremely hard-working and well-off compared to them. They have a strong sense of community; very rarely does a Cretan marry a non-Cretan. They have kept the traditions of their motherland very much alive, insisting on following customs long extinct on Crete itself.

At the core of this phenomenon of cultural preservation seems to lie the bond of family.Hamidiyah is certainly not the most beautiful place in the world. The road leading there from Tartus follows the coastline, passing by the ruins of Amrit, the ancient Phoenician colony, and then rushes through cornfields and vegetable fields towards the Lebanese border. This is the southernmost corner of Syria and it is not pretty; the beaches here often serve as dumping grounds for non-recyclable plastic.

The village itself has a cold industrial air about it, aesthetics guiltlessly sacrificed to the altar of functionality. When you enter Hamidiyah, this is what you see: one-story, stone-built houses, each with a small patio in front; dirt roads separating a mosque, a school, and a caf?; posters of President Assad and his son, stuck like advertisements on every wall and every shop window; people sitting outside their homes drinking tea; and barefoot children playing on the beach.

cretan muslims turkey
A Cretan Muslim family sent to Turkey after the population exchange in 1923.

Despite all this,Hamidiyah is a true Cretan village. Most of the wounds caused by the violence of the late-nineteenth century have slowly healed. Many families in Hamidiyah still have Christian relatives in Crete with whom they maintain contact. Television plays an important role for ethnic minority communities like Hamidiyah. The proximity of Cyprus to the Syrian coast provides a rich source of cultural contact via Greek TV stations, whose programming is pivotal in helping Hamidiyahians maintain their language.

In Hamidiyah, mothers teach their infants Greek from the cradle. We speak it amongst ourselves. That’s how we managed to preserve it so far, for 100 years!

A tour to Hamidiyah may not be included in your visit to Syria, a country replete with ancient Greek monuments. However, a Greek visitor to Hamidiyah will be happily surprised to hear the Cretan dialect spoken by the residents of this Syrian village.

The Hamidiyahians speak the Cretan dialect in its unadulterated form, as it was spoken on Crete during the last century. They are very hospitable and friendly while the elders do not hesitate to relate the circumstances that forced them out of Crete at the end of the 19th century. Although natives of Crete, they had been forced to adopt the Muslim religion. However, this did not prevent them from joining the cause of their Christian compatriots against Turkish occupation of the island.

cretan muslims turcs

The Hamidiyahians love Crete. You can see it in the spark of their eyes when they speak of Crete. It comes as no surprise then that they have remained faithful to the Cretan customs and language. Occasionally, Hamidians employed on fishing boats come to Crete, to return to Hamidiyah, where they rekindle the love for the land of their forefathers.

Here, two travel bloggers recounts their travel experiences in Al-Hamidiyah. They write:

 When you hear Cretan songs being sung from the heart, from a man who has never been to the island, you realise how strong the Cretan presence is felt in Al Hamidiyah. These songs spoke of Crete in a different age, they were beautiful to listen to.

I was told that the dialect they speak was learnt in the home as it is not taught at school. The Hamidiyans love Crete and this family is a clear example of that. You can see it in the spark of their eyes when they speak of Crete. It came as no surprise that they, like the rest of the village, appreciate the Cretan customs and language.

  • Sources:

http://noctoc-noctoc.blogspot.com.cy/2007/05/cretans-of-al-hamidiyah.html

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