Turkey warns Greek Cyprus over hydrocarbon searches
ANKARATurkey has expressed its concern over Greek Cyprus’ “one-sided” off-shore hydrocarbon searches, after the Turkish administration of northern Cyprus announced that a new ship had begun unilateral exploration in its “so-called exclusive economic zone.”
“Turkey follows with concern the Greek Cypriot Administration’s (GCA) continuing unilateral research activities of hydrocarbon resources in its so called Exclusive Economic Zone without taking into account the Turkish Cypriots’ detailed and concrete cooperation proposals for a fair sharing,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a written statement released on Oct. 4.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus had announced on Oct. 3 that a Bahama-registered ship, SAIPEM 10000, began hydrocarbon exploration in Block 9, in an area southeast of the island that Greek Cypriots have declared an exclusive economic zone ex parte or unilaterally.
Turkey disputes Greek Cyprus’s rights to a swathe of sea to the island’s south and southeast that are rich in natural gas reserves, adding to long-standing tensions between the neighbors.
The Turkish government says all revenues obtained from the drilling operations off the coast of Cyprus should be distributed between Greek Cyprus and Turkish Cyprus, and have frequently warned that Turkey would undertake unilateral drilling in the event of any failure to equitably share revenues.
“Turkey expects the GCA to refrain from acting as if it is the sole owner of the resources of the Island, to halt its unilateral research activities and to adopt an understanding with a view to establishing a new partnership,” the ministry statement said.
Reiterating Turkey’s “determination to maintain its constructive support,” the statement also stressed the country’s caution against potential repercussions of the Greek Cyprus’ “irresponsible act” over the ongoing peace efforts to re-unify divided island, “which Turkey expects to have positive results soon.”
“Nevertheless, as it was stated repeatedly, if the priority of the GCA is to act unilaterally over the natural resources, this will never be accepted,” the statement asserted.
Ankara also called on the international community to step in “to prevent the provocative and unilateral steps” of Greek Cyprus.