Ankara says actions taken by Greek Cypriots to exploit gas resources off the island’s coast but outside Turkish jurisdiction are still unfair if Turkish Cypriots are not involved in the process.
Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez on Tuesday reiterated that Turkey would remain a player in the hydrocarbon game in the Mediterranean, even in areas outside its own jurisdiction.
Donmez, who held a press conference on a new natural gas discovery, shared details following statements last week by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who announced the discovery of a new 58 billion cubic meters natural gas field in the Black Sea.
The Turkish minister also focused on the Mediterranean, saying “we will continue exploration and drilling activities in our own continental shelf, in our own jurisdiction.”
'Block 6 is outside Turkey’s jurisdiction but it would be wrong to view Cyprus as consisting of only one side'
But Donmez also spoke about areas outside Turkish claims or jurisdiction including Block 6 that falls within a Cypriot exclusive economic zone.
Last week ENI and TOTAL completed operations of the Zeus-1 exploratory drilling within Block 6, which is claimed by Greek Cypriots on behalf of the Republic of Cyprus.
Nicosia is scrambling to add newly-found gas to a pool that could be used to justify a fast-track process for sending LNG to Europe possibly through Egypt.
But Turkish Cypriots in the northern part of the divided island have been crying foul all along, arguing they were being left out by unilateral actions in the Greek Cypriot south.
Donmez backed the Turkish Cypriot claim on Tuesday, saying “everyone living on the island of Cyprus has a right to benefit from these resources,” while adding Ankara believed “it is not fair for deals to take place when one side is ignored.”
“Block 6 is outside Turkey’s jurisdiction but it would be wrong to view Cyprus as consisting of only one side,” Donmez added.
Cyprus has been divided for half a century with the two communities on the ethnically-split island still failing to reach agreement to reunify the country.
Turkish Cypriots in the north, which is not recognized by other countries except Turkey, have accused Greek Cypriots in the south, which is a UN and EU member, of not being sincere in seeking a federal solution.