The Foreign Minister of ‘Turkish Cyprus’ called on Israel not to support development of gas projects with the ‘real’ Cyprus.
The Foreign Minister of the Turkish Republic of Cyprus – located on the Turkish-occupied northern portion of the island and recognized only by Turkey – called on Israel not to support development of gas projects with the independent country of Cyprus, which encompasses the southern two thirds of the island.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said Wednesday that all nations in the region, including Turkey, needed to respect Cyprus’ right to develop gas off its shore.
“We think it’s crucial to respect all international norms and obligations and to act according to acceptable rules in the international community,” Liberman said after meeting Wednesday with his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides.
On a visit to Israel this week, Odzil Nami, the Foreign Minister of the Turkish Republic of Cyprus, told Israel Radio that Israel “must not ignore the rights of Turkey in Cyprus.”
Nami said that the issue of gas development could be a unifying one for both Cypruses, and by taking sides, Israel was encouraging the ongoing division.
Since October 20, a Turkish survey vessel has encroached Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone off the island’s southern coast, according to Nicosia.
Ankara had issued a notice that a Turkish seismic vessel would carry out a survey from mid-October to December 30 in the same area where the Italian-Korean energy consortium ENI-Kogas is operating.
Cyprus is unhappy that Turkey is determined to search for oil and gas in the same region where Nicosia has already licensed exploratory drills in an exclusive economic zone.
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.
Ankara opposes the Cypriot government’s exploitation of offshore energy reserves before a deal is reached to solve the decades-long division of the east Mediterranean island.