Turkey threatens Greek Cypriots with measures over gas drilling

Turkey threatens Greek Cypriots with measures over gas drilling

As a French-Italian consortium prepares to drill for gas off the coast of Cyprus, Turkey has threatened to take measures to counter, what it describes as, “unilateral” acts by the Greek Cypriots.

Speaking on Thursday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkey’s energy and foreign ministry were considering steps against Nicosia for moving ahead with drilling operations for natural gas, to which, he added, Turkish Cypriot also have rights to.

Cavusoglu made his remarks a day after the West Capella drilling vessel, operated by France’s Total and Italy’s Eni, arrived in block 11 of Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) to commence operations. 

The Turkish minister said the ship’s arrival demonstrated the “insincerity” of the Greek Cypriots at the Cyprus peace talks which collapsed last Friday.  

His statements drew a stern response from Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who said that Ankara’s stance proves that “we are dealing with a neighbor who likes not to respect stability, cooperation and peace.” 

Greece, Tsipras said, will continue on its path of dialogue and a positive agenda, but at the same time, be prepared “to defend our sovereign rights.”

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