Greek Cyprus warns Turkey against any new energy moves
AFP PhotoGreek Cyprus warned Turkey Jan. 2 that if it re-entered the exclusive economic zone where Nicosia has licensed exploratory drilling there would be no chance of resuming stalled U.N.-brokered peace talks.
Government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said any such a move would be a "worrying development" and would only "validate the reason for not returning to the talks."
Greek Cyprus had announced in October the suspension of peace talks as a result of a crisis in the eastern Mediterranean, which was sparked after it accelerated oil exploration drills off Cyprus. Turkey sent the seismic research vessel Barbaros to areas nearby for its own oil exploration and deployed a warship to closely follow the activities of a Greek Cyprus platform in the island’s disputed economic zone.
Warning against another incident, Christodoulides told the Cyprus News Agency on Friday: "While knowing such an action would not allow for talks to resume, it will unfortunately send the international community a negative message regarding the possibility of a resumption of talks."
Turkish Cypriot media reports say that Turkey is ready to issue a new maritime notice for its survey ship Barbaros from Jan. 5.
Nicosia is unhappy that Ankara is determined to search for oil and gas in the same region where it has already licensed exploratory drillings.
Turkey opposes the government's exploitation of offshore energy reserves before a deal is reached to solve the decades-long division of the east Mediterranean island.
The Mediterranean island has been divided since Turkish troops intervened in 1974 in response to a Greek Cypriot coup seeking union with Greece.