Turkish Cyprus says equal rights to resources 'our red line'

Turkish Cyprus says equal rights to resources 'our red line'

ISTANBUL - Anadolu Agency
Turkish Cyprus says equal rights to resources our red line

Turkish Cypriot Energy Minister Hakan Dinçyürek (R) poses for photos with Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız. AA photo

Both states on the island of Cyprus have equal rights to all natural resources, the energy minister for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus said on Nov. 21.

Hakan Dinçyürek, Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources, insisted that his government would not give up rights to natural resources on and around the island.

"This is a red line for us," Dinçyürek said, speaking at the Atlantic Council Energy and Economy Summit in Istanbul.      

Energy policy has a critical effect on international relations, Dinçyürek said, adding that it is the reason for the Greek Cypriot administration's efforts to cooperate with other states in the eastern Mediterranean.

The Greek Cypriot administration suspended peace talks, making the excuse that the Turkish side was engaging in hydrocarbon exploration, and refusing every possible solution to achieve permanent peace, Dinçyürek said.

The Greek Cypriot administration was the side that preferred to leave the negotiating table, making a number of excuses to no longer seek peace and declining any solution within the Annan Plan - the U.N. proposal for a unified Cyprus named after former Secretary General Kofi Annan - and blocking any kind of agreement, the minister added.

"We are at the table and we extend our hand for peace. But we are determined to take steps to protect our rights to resources on and around the island as well," Dinçyürek insisted.
The negotiations between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and  the Greek Cypriot administration resumed after a two-year pause in February 2013.

The previous round of talks had been suspended because of the eurozone debt crisis and the Greek Cypriot side's turn to take over the EU presidency in 2012.

However, the Greek-Cypriot administration suspended the talks over the divided island on Oct. 7, after Turkey sent a ship for oil-and-gas exploration to the waters off the coast of Cyprus.

Increasing the use of renewable energy is a priority of the government. The Beşparmak Mountains, which are on the north side of the island, have significant potential for wind-energy generation.

"As the environment minister, it is my duty to develop such resources," Dinçyürek said.