Tur­key ups the ante with Cyprus over gas fields

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Tur­key upped the ante with Cyprus yes­ter­day, reit­er­at­ing its warn­ing that it will not ac­cept “uni­lat­eral” ac­tions by Ni­cosia with re­gard to gas ex­plo­ration and ex­ploita­tion off the is­land’s south­ern coast. Ankara says that any deal signed by Ni­cosia re­gard­ing the ex­plo­ration for gas re­serves in plots south of the is­land con­sti­tutes a uni­lat­eral act.

“From now on we have to show that we will not ac­cept uni­lat­eral acts,” Turk­ish For­eign Min­is­ter Mev­lut Cavu­soglu said. His com­ments fol­low the an­nounce­ment by Turk­ish En­ergy Min­is­ter Berat Al­bayrak that Tur­key plans to per­form deep-sea drilling and seis­mic sur­veys for oil and nat­u­ral gas re­sources in the East­ern Mediter­ranean as early as next week – spark­ing con­cern that they could be car­ried out within Cyprus’s ex­clu­sive eco­nomic zone (EEZ), where the is­land’s gov­ern­ment an­nounced on Tues­day it will con­duct its own re­search.

Tur­key be­lieves a part of Cyprus’s EEZ be­longs to its con­ti­nen­tal shelf. In what is seen as a bid to get the mes­sage across that it doesn’t rec­og­nize Cyprus’s ex­clu­sive rights to en­ergy re­serves within its EEZ, Tur­key has in­ten­si­fied its mil­i­tary pres­ence in an area stretch­ing south from Rhodes to the coast of Paphos in Cyprus. Mean­while, au­thor­i­ties in the Turk­ish-oc­cu­pied north of the is­land have is­sued three con­sec­u­tive No­tices to Air­men (NOTAM) re­serv­ing the en­tire north­ern side of the is­land, where Turk­ish mil­i­tary jets will hold ex­er­cises with live am­mu­ni­tion from Mon­day un­til April 26.

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