KKTC welcomes Turkey's oil dig, Greek Cyprus up in arms

The Turkish Cypriot administration welcomed a tender launched by Turkey for oil and gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean, saying the move confirmed that Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) were protecting their legitimate nat

KKTC welcomes Turkey's oil dig, Greek Cyprus up in arms

The Turkish Cypriot administration yesterday welcomed a tender launched by Turkey for oil and gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean, saying the move confirmed that Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) were protecting their legitimate national interests in the region.

In a statement, the KKTC Foreign Ministry said the tender was proof that the Turkish side would "not remain silent in the face of attempts to undermine its interests in the eastern Mediter-ranean" and added that it would "hopefully send the appropriate message to all parties concerned, including the Greek Cypriot leadership."

The state-owned Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) opened the tender for oil and gas exploration in a 4,000-kilometer area in the eastern Mediterranean. The tender process will be finalized at the end of this month, angering Greek Cypriots who vowed to extract oil and gas in the same area.

"Turkey is violating international law," Greek Cypriot government spokesman Vassilis Palmaz was quoted as saying yesterday in response to Turkey's tender efforts. "The Republic of [Greek] Cyprus is doing nothing more and nothing less than exercising its sovereign rights and carrying out investigations within the framework provided for by international law and international conventions," he said.

The Greek Cypriot administration also launched a tender for oil and gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean. The deadline for offshore oil and gas exploration licensing in the waters around divided Cyprus is rapidly approaching, with the last date for submissions on Aug. 16.

The issue caused a diplomatic crisis earlier this year, when Ankara protested agreements that the Greek Cypriot administration signed with Egypt and Lebanon to delineate sea boundaries in order to pave the way for oil and gas explorations.

Ankara asserts that the Greek Cypriot administration claims to be representing the entire island and is insisting on moving ahead with this tender, despite all warnings by the KKTC and Turkey. Turkish officials say the agreements signed by Egypt and Lebanon are unacceptable because according to international law, the sea boundaries between the countries and the limits of the continental shelf of each country need to be delineated via a consensus among all coastal and neighboring countries when concerning a semi-closed sea like the eastern Mediterranean.

TPAO determined its offshore blocks in the Antalya, Mersin and İskenderun gulfs as part of its tender. After forwarding the notice of their interest to TPAO headquarters, companies interested in the tender sign a confidentiality agreement. Then they are able to access available data as well as guidance and technical support upon request following the briefings about the offshore blocks.

Officials say there has been huge international interest in the tender, given the high oil prices in global markets.

Today's Zaman, Agencies

Last Mod: 07 Ağustos 2007, 13:00
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