Don’t act like sole owner of Cyprus in energy search, Turkey tells Greek Cyprus
AFP photoTurkey has condemned recent moves by Greek Cyprus to search for hydrocarbon reserves off the island and to hold talks with international energy companies on exploration, vowing to take all measures to protect the interests of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots.
“There have been reports in the press that during a visit to the U.S. on March 22, the Greek Cypriot leader, Mr. [Nicos] Anastasiades, met representatives of one of the hydrocarbon companies that took part in the Greek Cypriot Administration’s third international tender within its so-called exclusive economic zone. These contacts clearly demonstrate yet again how the Greek Cypriot Administration disregards, in its unilateral pursuit of hydrocarbon-related activities, the inalienable rights to natural resources of the Turkish Cypriot people, the co-owners of the island,” Hüseyin Müftüoğlu, a spokesperson for the Turkish Foreign Ministry, said in a written statement late on March 23.
Müftüoğlu said Greek Cyprus approved the signing of exploration and exploitation contracts for three separate areas with several companies at a cabinet meeting on March 17.
“This attitude shows that the Greek Cypriot Administration is still not able to grasp the win-win potential for economic cooperation that could ensue on the island and in the eastern Mediterranean from a comprehensive settlement, something for which the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey have been expending intensive efforts,” he said.
Turkey expects the Greek Cypriot side to refrain from acting as though it were the sole owner of the island’s natural resources and to cease its hydrocarbon-related activities, Müftüoğlu said.
“It will be recalled in this context that in previous years, such activities led to the failure of efforts aiming at a comprehensive settlement. We also take this opportunity to note once again that Turkey will take all necessary measures to protect its interests in the eastern Mediterranean as well as the rights of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” he said.