Turkey will “not allow” companies to explore Cyprus’ EEZ

26 March 2016
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Turkey rebuked the Republic of Cyprus’ administration on Friday over its announcing of a tender for new offshore hydrocarbon exploration.

The third round of gas exploration licensing was launched for Blocks six, eight and 10 in the offshore Economic Zone (EEZ) of Cyprus.

The Blocks that have been selected for licensing comprise, on one hand, of areas which are largely unexplored and, on the other hand, have been interpreted to contain carbonate structures, as is the case of the ‘Zohr’ discovery.

“The natural wealth of Cyprus belongs to the Cypriot people, meaning the people of the Republic of Cyprus, and after the solution of the Cyprus problem, the Cypriot people in their entirety will be able to benefit from the utilisation of this natural wealth,” the Republic’s Government Spokesman Nikos Christodoulides said on Friday.

Shortly after the announcement the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the Cypriot administration was challenging the right of Turks on the island at a time when the two sides are negotiating over a possible reunification.

“The Greek administration’s decision to open a tender on the one hand disregards the Turkish Cypriot side’s equal rights and interests on the island’s natural resources and on the other hand violates our country’s continental shelf rights in the region,” the statement said.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said that Turkey would not allow foreign companies to explore for hydrocarbons.

Earlier this year at Davos, the island’s two leaders – Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades – stated that both communities should cooperate on energy matters.

Akinci said newly found hydrocarbon resources in the Eastern Mediterranean would act as “a source of peace, stability and cooperation rather than conflict and tension”.

Anastasiades said that the discovery of hydrocarbon in the region opened up new possibilities for cooperation and synergy.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory. Anastasiades has been engaged in UN-led talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, since May last year, with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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