Turkey will continue drilling for gas in waters off Cyprus if Cyprus does not accept a cooperation proposal put forward by Turkish Cypriots, Ankara’s foreign minister said on Sunday.
Mevlut Cavusoglu said a proposal by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci that both parties on the divided island cooperate in exploration and exploitation of gas could contribute to stability and peace in the eastern Mediterranean.
Tensions in the region have risen after Turkey sent two ships to drill off the island. Cyprus issued arrest warrants for the crew of one of the ships, and the European Union is discussing curbing contacts and funds for Turkey in response.
Cavusoglu said that until Greek Cypriots adopt the proposals set out by Akinci on Saturday to work with Turkish Cypriots, Turkey would continue operations “with determination and without change”.
Turkey’s Fatih ship started drilling off western Cyprus in May. A second drilling ship, Yavuz, arrived off the northeastern coast last week.