Turkey's energy minister says his country won't allow Cyprus's government to carry out a "unilateral" gas search off the east Mediterranean island.
Berak Albayrak told an energy forum in Istanbul on Thursday that Turkey will block an offshore hydrocarbon search as long as there isn't an accord to reunify ethnically split Cyprus.
For two weeks, Turkish warships have prevented a rig from reaching an area southeast of Cyprus where Italian firm Eni is scheduled to carry out exploratory drilling.
Turkey says drilling ignores the rights of breakaway Turkish Cypriots to the island's natural resources.
Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said Thursday that drilling in the specific area could be abandoned if Turkish naval vessels continue to obstruct the rig.
But Kasoulides added that planned exploratory drilling elsewhere must continue. [AP]