Turkey, Economy, Europe

Turkey: Greek Cypriot's hydrocarbon bid ‘unacceptable’

‘Worrying’, ‘unacceptable’ Greek Cypriot side acts as island’s sole owner, Ankara says

Emin Avundukluoglu   | 07.04.2017
Turkey: Greek Cypriot's hydrocarbon bid ‘unacceptable’

Ankara

ANKARA

The Greek Cypriot administration's exploration and exploitation contracts with international hydrocarbon companies and consortiums is “unacceptable”, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Thursday.

"We find it as worrying as it is unacceptable that the Greek Cypriot side persists in acting as though it were the sole owner of the Island and continues with its unilateral activities, particularly in a period when they should be displaying strong political will towards establishing a new partnership with the Turkish Cypriot people,” the ministry said in a statement.

A delegation from Exxon Mobil and Qatar Petroleum signed an agreement Wednesday with the Greek Cypriot administration to explore hydrocarbon in Block 10, in southern Cyprus.

The statement said it agreed with the points made concerning the issue in a separate statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

"We share the justified concerns and outrage felt by the Turkish Cypriot side,” it said.

"It will be recalled that in the past, we have also repeatedly drawn attention to the problematic nature of activities carried out by hydrocarbon companies in maritime areas over which the Turkish Cypriots have rights," it added.

"Furthermore, a significant segment of one of the relevant areas, namely block number 6, falls within Turkey’s continental shelf. Foreign companies shall never, under any conditions, be permitted to carry out unauthorized hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation activities in our maritime jurisdiction areas."

The agreement was signed while the UN-mediated discussions were interrupted between the TRNC and the Greek Cypriot administration. The UN announced Tuesday that Cyprus talks would resume April 11 after a two-month hiatus.

In February 2016, the government of the Greek Cypriot administration unilaterally decided to launch a licensing round for a number of blocks on the offshore island.

In total, 12 exploration wells will be drilled in blocks 6, 8, and 10, the Greek Cypriot Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said.

A consortium between ENI and Total won licensing for block 6, ENI was solely awarded block 8 while the ExxonMobil-Qatar Petroleum consortium was awarded block 10.

The statement said Turkey would continue to take all necessary measures to protect its rights and interests on its continental shelf as well as the rights and interests of the TRNC.

The status of the Cyprus island remains unresolved in spite of a series of UN-mediated discussions between Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Greek Cypriot administration.

In February, the Greek Cypriot assembly's decision to introduce a school commemoration of the 1950 referendum on the unification with Greece saw the discussions stall.

The Cyprus Island was divided into a Turkish Cypriot state in the north and a Greek Cypriot administration in the south after a 1974 military coup was followed by violence against the island’s Turkish population, and the subsequent intervention of Turkey as a guarantor power.

Despite the disputed status, the Greek Cypriot administration continued to unilaterally open new tenders for hydrocarbon explorations without any collaboration with Turkish Cypriots.


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