Mindanao Times

Turkish Cypriot leader proposes joint energy committee


TURKISH Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci on Saturday proposed creating a joint committee across the divided Mediterran­ean island, to address tensions over offshore energy reserves.

The measure aims to “pass the subject of hydrocarbo­ns from an area of tensions and conflicts to an area of productive cooperatio­n,” Akinci said in a note addressed to his Greek Cypriot counterpar­t Nicos Anastasiad­es.

Cyprus is divided between the internatio­nally recognised Republic of Cyprus and a breakaway state set up after the 1974 Turkish invasion, following a coup sponsored by the military junta then ruling Greece.

Akinci’s message, which was relayed by a United Nations intermedia­ry, came as Turkey has vowed to continue drilling off Cyprus.

Ankara’s deployment of two ships -- the Fatih and Yavuz -- to search for oil and gas has sparked a dispute with the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member.

The offshore area where the vessels have been dispatched is part of what the internatio­nal community recognises as the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Republic of Cyprus, which has invited Western giants like ExxonMobil and France’s Total to drill in lucrative deals for Nicosia.

Turkey itself granted exploratio­n licences to Turkish Petroleum in 2009 and 2012 and opposes any offshore exploratio­n which excludes the Turkish Cypriot part of the island led by Akinci.

Turkey says its actions abide by internatio­nal law and that it is drilling inside its own continenta­l shelf.

But its decision to press on with drilling in the EEZ has led to criticism from Egypt, the United States and the European Union, which has threatened sanctions.

The committee proposed by Akinci to resolve the dispute would include representa­tives of his administra­tion and those of the Republic of Cyprus in equal number.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines