How a Joint Development Zone Could Extinguish the Natural Gas Conflict in the Eastern Mediterranean

By: Kimberlyn Hughes

PDF: Solving the Unsolvable?

Recently, the Cyprus conflict has manifested itself in the competing claims of Greek Cyprus, Turkish Cyprus, and Turkey over their maritime jurisdictions. During the past decade, the discovery of natural gas exacerbated these preexisting claim disputes. Solutions have been nonexistent due to the unwillingness of the parties to conduct multilateral negotiations or use international courts and are complicated by the fact that not all parties are signatories to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, an instrument most countries defer to in comparable disagreements. While prior publications have proposed mechanisms that could solve maritime disputes in this geographic area, none have explained how those mechanisms would function in the context of the Cyprus conflict. To fill this functional gap, this Note proposes a joint development zone with boundaries informed by an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice and with management processes influenced by procedures that are commonly found in power-sharing democracies.