Turkish Cyprus will not allow Greek side to continue exploring gas: Minister
The Greek Cypriot administration will not be permitted to continue engaging in unilateral natural gas exploration activities in the Mediterranean without the consent of Turkish Cypriots, Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Kudret Özersay has said.
“They cannot continue before the Cyprus issue is settled, or, if it would not be possible, without reaching an understanding with the Turkish Cypriot side,” said Kudret Özersay in a written statement on Jan. 19.
Özersay said if the unilateral activities being undertaken by the Greek-side do not turn into conflict, it would be on account of the “cold-blooded approach” of Turkey and Turkish Cyprus.
The minister said it was “unfair and unacceptable” for the Greek Cypriot administration to take advantage of the status quo arising from the very problems that cannot be solved due to its own reluctance.
“Unfortunately, Greek Cyprus’ membership to the EU occurred in the same manner. We are intent on not allowing a similar development to take place on the issue of natural gas,” he said.
Özersay reminded that Turkish Cypriots have equal rights regarding natural resources.
“On one hand, they [the Greek side] recognize that we also own this richness, but on the other hand, they want to try to continue along this path by disregarding us. This is neither in line with international law nor the notion of justice. If you acknowledge the existence of someone’s rights, you have to act accordingly,” he said.
“For one, these resources belong to us as well. So, before you take any action regarding these resources, you have to win the consent of the Turkish community and address their concerns,” said Özersay.