Turkey warns companies against energy exploration with Greek Cypriot govt
ANKARA, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Turkey warned energy companies on
Sunday against working with the Greek Cypriot government in
carrying out exploratory drilling in the eastern Mediterranean,
saying such activities could damage regional stability.
The eastern Mediterranean is believed to be rich in natural
gas, and attempts to tap resources there have revived tensions
between Turkey and Greece, which has a defence pact with the
internationally recognised Greek Cypriot government.
Turkey and Cyprus have overlapping claims of marine
jurisdiction and both plan to carry out exploratory drilling
this year. Ankara has diplomatic relations only with a breakaway
Turkish Cypriot state in the north of the island that no other
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said exploratory
drilling by Exxon Mobil in the eastern Mediterranean
with permission from the Greek Cypriot government did not help
regional stability and would "upset some sensitive balances".
"We renew our warnings to companies participating in the
Greek Cypriots' one-sided exploration and drilling. We remind
them that sharing the natural resources of the island of Cyprus
relates to the core of the Cyprus issue," Aksoy said in a
"In addition to our own continental shelf, we will start
carrying out activities in areas where the Turkish Republic of
Northern Cyprus has given (state-run oil company) Turk
Petrolleri a license," he said.
Last month, Turkey complained that a Greek frigate had
hounded a Turkish exploration ship west of Cyprus. Greece denied
the charge and Cyprus accused Turkey of stirring tension.
Breakaway north Cyprus, which is supported by Ankara, says
any offshore wealth also belongs to its citizens, as partners in
the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960.
The island was split in 1974 after a Turkish invasion
triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup.
(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Dale Hudson)
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