Ankara: firm can drill for Cyprus gas

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Ankara de­fended yes­ter­day the con­tin­ued pres­ence of a Turk­ish ves­sel in Cyprus’s Ex­clu­sive Eco­nomic Zone (EEZ ) and pro­posed the foun­da­tion of a pri­vate company to un­der­take oil and gas drilling ac­tiv­i­ties in the east­ern Aegean un­til a so­lu­tion is found to the Cyprus prob­lem.

“Since the states want to be counter to each other un­til a res­o­lu­tion is reached, then let a pri­vate company be founded and per­form searches,” For­eign Min­is­ter Mev­lut Cavu­soglu was quoted as telling Turk­ish MPs. He made it clear that Ankara would not change tac­tics in the re­gion. “When they drill, we send a ship,” he said. “If they stop it, we will also stop it.”

Later in the day, Prime Min­is­ter Ah­met Davu­to­glu told Turkey’s Na­tional Assem­bly that Ankara “would never al­low” Greek Cypri­ots to form a “mo­nop­oly on nat­u­ral gas.” “The Mediter­ranean is our sea too. No one can shut us out of the Mediter­ranean,” he added.

Davu­to­glu’s com­ments came just 10 days be­fore he is due in Athens where he is to cochair the third ses­sion of the Greek-Turk­ish High-Level Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil with Greek Prime Min­is­ter An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras.

In an ap­par­ent re­sponse to the lat­est state­ments from Ankara, the gov­ern­ment spokesman in Nicosia, Ni­cos Christodoulides, un­der­lined that Nicosia will not agree to dis­cuss the is­sue of nat­u­ral gas be­fore stalled peace talks re­sume and a set­tle­ment is found.

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