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More Threats from Turkey Over Cyprus Hydrocarbon Exploration

turkey warns oil companies away from cyprusTurkey's foreign ministry has warned off international energy companies from exploring in Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), saying that it will 'not allow' any activity in the maritime plots in the west of the island.

In a written statement, Ankara said that 'any activity of international oil companies in these areas in future would bring them into confrontation with TRNC and TPAO' and cause 'undesired tension'. Turkey will give every support to 'TRNC', according to the statement.

"Turkey also urges the countries concerned and the relevant oil companies to act with common sense and particularly refrain from any activity in these areas which are disputed especially due to the Cyprus issue, and withdraw from the said tender," said the foreign ministry's statement.

Cyprus' Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis said that Turkey's claims are "unfounded and contrary to international law. An occupying power cannot set policy for an independent and sovereign state, nor attempt to impose its expansionist designs with threats and intimidation."

Fifteen international companies are bidding for the remaining 12 plots in Cyprus' EEZ that could contain hydrocarbons. Noble Energy has already discovered natural gas in Plot 12.

With reunification talks at a standstill and the island's economy in recession, the government has pursued oil and gas exploration as a new source of income. Their efforts are supported by Israel, which has discovered its own natural energy resources.

Yesterday, Turkey complained that Israel had entered the 'TRNC' airspace with a warplane and there was a confrontation in the air.

Turkey has controlled the northern third of the island since 1974 when it invaded and forced the separation of the two main communities here.

"The Turkish Cypriots, like the Greek Cypriots, have equal and inherent rights over the natural resources located on the whole continental shelf of the Island. Disregarding this reality is not acceptable both to Turkey and TRNC," said Ankara, which is trying to increase its hold over Cyprus.

If international oil companies start drilling for hydrocarbons around Cyprus, it will 'definitely lead to new problems,' said the foreign ministry.

The companies taking part in hydrocarbon exploration will not be allowed to take part in Turkey's future energy projects, said the statement.

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