Turkey plans Cyprus gas drill tit for tat
Thursday, September 15, 2011
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey and Turkish Cyprus have completed preparations for a retaliatory agreement for their own oil and gas exploration efforts, a diplomatic source says. Greece immediately condemned the move
Turkey has warned that it will sign a continental shelf delimitation
accord with Turkish Cyprus if Greek Cyprus proceeds with plans to start offshore drilling for oil and gas next month.
Such an agreement would designate areas in the eastern Mediterranean Sea where Turkey and northern Cyprus could launch their own oil and gas exploration projects.
Meanwhile, Greece on Thursday said Turkey should drop threats to Cyprus over the latter’s gas exploration plans. “Turkey is trying to escalate the tone... this is dangerous and it needs to stop,” foreign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras said.
“We hope that Turkey will behave soberly and will refrain from further raising tension...there needs to be stability in our area because we are in a very sensitive period,” Delavekouras said.
Turkish officials met Thursday with a Turkish Cypriot delegation to discuss the dispute with Greek Cyprus, which has been escalating in the background behind a crisis with Israel that has already prompted a Turkish decision to step up military presence in the East Mediterranean. “As a result of the meeting, it has been agreed that [Northern Cyprus] will conclude a continental shelf delimitation agreement if the Greek Cypriot administration proceeds with offshore drilling activities in the south of the island,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.
“We are determined to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriots. They are not going to be spectators if the Greek Cypriots start to drill,” a senior Turkish diplomat told the Hürriyet Daily News.
‘Contract is ready’
All preparations for the delimitation agreement between Turkey and Turkish Cyprus have been completed and it will be signed “immediately” if Greek Cyprus starts exploration work
, he said. A Turkish delegation, led by the Energy Ministry’s undersecretary, will go to northern Cyprus on Friday for further consultations on the issue. The delegation will include representatives from the General Directorate of Petroleum Affairs, the Turkish Petroleum Corporation and the Foreign Ministry. Turkey has repeatedly urged Greek Cyprus to suspend oil and gas exploration plans, arguing that such unilateral action would preclude Turkish Cypriot rights to the island’s natural resources. Contribution from AFP stories were used in this report.
Turkey plans Cyprus gas drill tit for tat - Hurriyet Daily News