Turkey's FM Mevlut Cavusoglu, who is in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, says the Greek Cypriot administration does not intend to share the island's natural resources.
Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday said a hydrocarbon cooperation proposal which was rejected by the Greek Cypriot side was still on the table.
Speaking at a joint news conference with Mustafa Akinci, president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (or TRNC), in the capital Lefkosa, Cavusoglu said the Greek Cypriot administration pursues unilateral acts and does not intend to share the island's natural resources.
"The Greek Cypriot administration immediately rejected the Turkish Cypriot side's proposal for hydrocarbon cooperation, dated July 13, as it did in 2011 and 2012, but this proposal is still on the table," Cavusoglu said.
He said the Greek Cypriot side should take this proposal into consideration and accept it "before it is too late" if they see the Turkish side as a co-owner of the island.
On Akinci's offer on the island's resources, Cavusoglu said the Turkish Petroleum Corporation will decisively continue its activities in areas licensed by the Turkish Cypriot side if the Greek Cypriot side does not accept this proposal.
About a so-called proposal floated by the Greek Cypriot leader to the TRNC president, Cavusoglu said there was "nothing realistic" in the proposal and it was not acceptable to Turkey.
Peace and stability
Akinci said they always wished for the island's natural resources to contribute to peace, stability, and cooperation in the region.
"We always highlight this, we made offers in this regard. We desired for natural gas as a peace bridge, not a tension area. We proposed a joint committee in this regard," Akinci said, adding that the proposal has been on the table since 2011.
About the Greek Cypriot side's attitude on the proposal, he said they categorically rejected the proposal and offered their own proposal to TRNC, which is “impossible to accept and far from doing something together."
Turkish drilling vessels
Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration's unilateral drilling in the eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the TRNC also has similar rights to the resources in the area.
From Spring onwards when Ankara sent two drilling vessels — the Fatih and the Yavuz — to the eastern Mediterranean, exploration and research work has continued in defence of the rights of Turkey and the TRNC to the resources in the region.
The Turkish-flagged drillship Fatih launched offshore drilling operations this May in an area 75 km off the western coast of the island of Cyprus.
The sixth-generation ultra-deepwater drillship, Yavuz, also began operations in August at the Karpaz-1 well located in the Bay of Gazimagusa — also known as Famagusta, in the TRNC.