Turk­ish Cypriot leader pro­poses joint en­ergy com­mit­tee

Mindanao Times - - CLASSIFIED ADS -

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.

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