Turkey lashes out at Nicosia over gas

Turkey lashes out at Nicosia over gas

ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
Turkey lashes out at Nicosia over gas

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has published a statement condemning Greek Cyprus’ attempts to use the energy reserves during bailout talks. DHA photo

Turkey has reacted strongly against a possible Greek Cypriot plan to use oil and gas exploration rights around the eastern Mediterranean island as collateral for an international bailout package it desperately needs to protect its economy from going bankrupt.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry warned that the Greek Cypriot plan would risk a fresh crisis in the region, saying such a move would ignore the Turkish Cypriots’ equal rights to the hydrocarbon resources of the island, in a statement on March 23.

“Possible plans to put the island’s joint resources as collateral for ‘a solidarity fund’ or any other loan agreement is just another reflection of the Greek Cypriot illusion that it is the sole owner of the entire island and it risks a fresh crisis in the region,” the statement said.

The statement also said Turkey would continue to protect the country’s and the Turkish Cypriot interests and rights in the Mediterranean and based on this understanding, Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots were ready to work with Greece and the Greek Cypriots.

In the statement Turkey urged Greek Cyprus to consider an immediate solution to the issue, saying it could be “establishing a new partnership – of which the parameters are well known – or the negotiation of a two state solution.

“The only way to exploit the natural resources flows through an agreement under the auspices of the U.N. secretary-general and thus by getting the clear consent of the Turkish Cypriot side,” it said.

In a phone conversation on March 23 with his U.S. counterpart, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also conveyed Turkey’s objections to the Greek Cypriot plan. “Turkey will not accept the Greek Cypriot administration’s use of its economic dire straits as an excuse for ‘a fait-accompli.’”

Turkey warned several times that it would not allow under any circumstances foreign oil companies to conduct unauthorized oil and natural gas exploration and exploitation activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Despite its objections, Greek Cyprus has offshore exploration deals with major oil and gas producers including French company Total and Israeli oil firms Delek and Anver.