Turkey on Thursday reacted angrily to Cyprus’ decision to invite oil companies to bid on block 7 in the island’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
In a statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said “the decision by the Greek-Cypriot government is proof that the equal rights and interests of the Turkish-Cypriot side with regard to the island’s natural resources continue to be ignored.”
It added that the Turkish-Cypriot community are “co-owners” of the island.
It went on to say the Greek Cypriot decision “violates the rights of our country stemming from international law.”
Any exploratory activities can only take place with Turkish permission, it added.
Turkey said it would continue to take all the necessary measures to “protect its rights” and that it would not allow any third party to conduct exploratory activities in the region.
Ankara has repeatedly warned Cyprus against taking “unilateral steps” in exploring and developing hydrocarbons without factoring in the Turkish Cypriots with whom Ankara signed a ‘continental shelf delineation agreement’ in 2001.
Turkey’s claims on the island’s EEZ partly overlap with Cyprus’ blocks 1, 4, 6 and 7. Ankara also supports the north’s claims on blocks 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 12 and 13, including within few kilometres from the Aphrodite gas field in block12.