Turkey rebuked Greek Cypriot administration on Friday over its announcing a tender for new hydrocarbon exploration offshore the long-divided Mediterranean Island.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement late Friday that the Greek 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 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 President Mustafa Akinci and Greek Cypriot leader 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.
The eastern Mediterranean island was divided into a Turkish Cypriot state in the north and a Greek Cypriot administration in the south after a 1974 military coup by Greece was followed by the intervention of Turkey as a guarantor power.
Long-stalled negotiations to find a way to settle the conflict resumed last year following Akinci's election in April. The talks restarted last May are focused on establishing a federal model.