Turkey offers ‘private company’ solution for Cyprus drilling tension
Both the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Greek Cypriot administration have the right to conduct oil search activities, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said. AA PhotoTurkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has proposed a yet-to-be-founded private company continues oil and gas drilling activities in the Mediterranean until a resolution can be found for the decades-long Cyprus issue.
Both the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Greek Cypriot administration have the right to conduct oil search activities, Çavuşoğlu said late on Nov. 24. He underlined, however, that Ankara is against unilateral searches by the Greek Cypriot side while peace talks between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots are on the table.
The UN-led negotiations between the two sides on the divided island of Cyprus resumed after a two-year pause in February 2013.
However, the Greek-Cypriot administration suspended talks over the divided island on Oct. 7, after Turkey sent a ship to the waters off the coast of Cyprus for oil and gas exploration.
“When they drill, we send a ship,” Çavuşoğlu was quoted as saying by the state-run Anadolu Agency, while responding to questions from lawmakers before Parliament’s Planning and Budget Commission.
“If they stop it, we will also stop it. Now, we have new proposals. Moreover, we have made this offer: since the states want to be counter to each other until a resolution is reached, then let a private company be founded and perform searches,” Çavuşoğlu said.
Turkish Foreign Ministry officials, approached by Hürriyet Daily News on Nov. 25, were not yet available to elaborate on Çavuşoğlu’s proposal.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Turkey “would never allow” Greek Cypriots to turn the gas into “their monopoly.”
“The Mediterranean is our sea too. No one can shut us out of the Mediterranean,” he said on Nov. 25 while addressing his party at a group meeting.
Davutoğlu said he shared these views with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden as well.
Turkey does not want tension, but as long as Greek Cypriots continue drilling activities off Cyprus, the Turkish side would do the same, the prime minister said.