Turkey will react to the drilling later this year by US energy giants ExxonMobil, even if there are ongoing Cyprus talks, Turkish Cypriot ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay said in the second part of his interview with Phileleftheros published on Monday.
Ozersay said there were areas of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone claimed by Ankara, both on its own behalf and on behalf of Turkish Cypriots. Turkey would also proceed with its own drilling in areas it lays claim to that have been licensed out by the Cyprus government.
The Turkish vessel Fatih is due to drill in the Eastern Mediterranean on October 29.
Exxon is to drill later this year in block 10, which until now has not been claimed by Ankara. 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.
However, Ozersay argued that a section of block 10 is located in an area where Turkish Cypriots also have rights, he said, and their plans would not be affected by any ongoing talks. The leaders are due to meet on Friday but negotiations have not officially resumed.
“I have heard hundreds of times the Greek Cypriots declare that their energy plans will continue. So will ours,” said Ozersay.
In the first part of the interview published on Sunday, Ozersay revealed he was involved in a round of contacts with Greek Cypriot politicians to discuss the Cyprus issue ‘outside the box’.