Recent statements from Turkish officials suggest that Ankara has no plans to back away from its energy plans in the Eastern Mediterranean, including sea areas under Cyprus’s jurisdiction.
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy this week urged foreign diplomats in Cyprus not to overstep their authority. His statement was in response to comments by Israeli and Egyptian ambassadors in Nicosia during a diaspora conference between July 25 and 27.
“The remarks made by some ambassadors during a recent conference in the Greek-Cypriot administration, in support of the unilateral hydrocarbon-related activities being conducted by the Greek Cypriots in the Eastern Mediterranean, are unwarranted,” he said, adding that Turkey would “recommend to the representatives of the relevant countries that they do not exceed their authority.”
According to the Cyprus News Agency, Israeli Ambassador Sammy Ravel said he “hoped military force would not be necessary against Turkish provocations,” while Egyptian Ambassador Mai Taha Mohammed Khalil said, “We hope we don’t reach the point where we will have to use the military in the area.” He added, “We will provide any possible assistance to Cyprus.”
ExxonMobil plans to begin drilling for gas in Block 10 of Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in October while France’s Total will also launch operations by February.