Cyprus Warns Turkey against Any New Energy Moves
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Cyprus warned Turkey Friday that if it re-entered the exclusive economic zone where Nicosia has licensed exploratory drilling there would be no chance of resuming stalled UN-brokered peace talks.
Government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said any such a move would be a "worrying development" and would only "validate the reason for not returning to the talks".
Last October, a Turkish ship encroached on Cyprus's EEZ off its south coast, after Ankara had given notice that a Turkish seismic vessel would carry out a survey in the same area where Italian-Korean energy consortium ENI-Kogas is operating.
In response, Cyprus suspended its participation in UN-led peace talks launched in February.
Warning against another incident, Christodoulides told the Cyprus News Agency on Friday that "While knowing such an action would not allow for talks to resume, it will unfortunately send the international community a negative message regarding the possibility of a resumption of talks."
Turkish and Cypriot media reports say that Turkey is ready to issue a new maritime notice for its survey ship Barbaros from January 5.
Nicosia is unhappy that Ankara is determined to search for oil and gas in the same region where it has already licensed exploratory drillings.
Turkey opposes the government's exploitation of offshore energy reserves before a deal is reached to solve the decades-long division of the east Mediterranean island, AFP reported.
Turkish troops invaded and occupied the northern third of Cyprus in 1974 in response to an Athens-engineered coup aimed at uniting it with Greece.
ENI-Kogas began drilling off Cyprus for possible gas in September in a second block to undergo exploratory tests.
It found no evidence of gas reserves in its first test drill and is preparing to try again over the next three months.
In 2011, US firm Noble Energy made the first find in the Aphrodite field, which is estimated to contain 102 billion to 170 billion cubic meters (3.6 trillion to six trillion cubic feet) of gas.