Ankara: Greek Cypriot veto threat on energy 'trivial'

The Greek Cypriot administration's recent threats against Turkey's objection to offshore oil and gas exploration licensing in the waters around divided Cyprus has sparked a harsh reaction from Ankara.

Ankara: Greek Cypriot veto threat on energy 'trivial'

The Greek Cypriot administration's recent threats against Turkey's objection to offshore oil and gas exploration licensing in the waters around divided Cyprus has sparked a harsh reaction from Ankara.

The Turkish government stated that it was impossible to link the issue to Turkey's bid for European Union membership as the Greek Cypriot foreign minister, Erato Kozakou Marcoullis, has done. The Greek Cypriot administration plans to issue exploration permits for a 70,000-square-kilometer sea area to the south of the island later this year (the deadline for submission of expressions of interest is on Aug. 16), while the state-owned Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) opened tenders for oil and gas exploration in a 4,000-square-kilometer area in the eastern Mediterranean in May. Bids will be accepted until the end of August.

Over the weekend Marcoullis threatened Turkey over its objection to the tender by raising the EU card. Nicosia claims to represent the whole island in the union, and she said Ankara's behavior was being monitored by Brussels and that its attitude towards Cyprus' oil exploration could not go unchecked, warning that "there will certainly be repercussions." "There is already one serious consequence arising from the energy chapter of the EU accession negotiations,' Marcoullis added. She said Turkish behavior would make opening the chapter "inconceivable."

"This situation once more displays the validity of our view that the Greek Cypriot side should not have been let into the EU without a resolution to the Cyprus issue. There is no relationship between Turkey's entry talks with the EU and the EU's acquis in the field of energy and oil exploration in the Mediterranean," a senior Turkish diplomat told Today's Zaman on Sunday.

Greek Cyprus signed accords with Egypt in 2005 and Lebanon earlier this year, to delineate the sea boundaries between them along with the limits of the continental shelf. Ankara opposes those agreements on the basis that international law states that sea boundaries between countries and the limit of the continental shelf for each country need to be delineated in a consensus amongst all the coastal and neighboring states when the issue is in a semi-closed sea like the east Mediterranean.

Meanwhile, the Greek Cypriot government's efforts to persuade public opinion of the benefits of the tendering process have not satisfied the local media. The Greek Cypriot daily Politis reported a lack of interest by international companies in the bid, saying only seven medium-sized companies have so far submitted the required research file.

Today's Zaman

Last Mod: 13 Ağustos 2007, 11:20
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