Turkey says it has agreed to conclude a deal to declare sea boundaries with the Turkish Cypriot state should Greek Cyprus proceed with offshore oil and gas drilling activities in the island's south.
The Foreign Ministry's announcement Thursday comes a day after Greek Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias announced that U.S. firm Noble Energy will soon begin exploratory drilling to confirm deposits beneath the sea bed off Cyprus' southern coast despite Turkey's opposition.
Christofias didn't specify a date for the start of drilling which officials have said will begin early next month.
Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on Thursday agreed to conclude a continental shelf delimitation agreement should the Greek Cypriot administration proceed with offshore drilling activities in the south of the island, said the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).
In a statement released Thursday, the MFA said that "upon the invitation by the Turkish government, a technical meeting was held today at the Ministry with a delegation composed of representatives from relevant authorities of the TRNC.
As a result of the meeting, it has been agreed that Turkey and the TRNC will conclude a continental shelf delimitation agreement should the Greek Cypriot administration proceed with offshore drilling activities in the south of the island.
Furthermore, upon the invitation of the TRNC government, a delegation from Turkey, led by Deputy Undersecretary of the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of the Republic of Turkey, will hold meetings in the TRNC on September 16, 2011. The Turkish delegation will also comprise of representatives from General Directorate of Petroleum Affairs (PIGM), Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO), and Ministry of Foreign Affairs".
Last week, Turkey's Parliament Speaker Cemil Cicek visited TRNC and met TRNC executives. After that TRNC President Dervis Eroglu's Special Envoy, Kudret Ozersay said Turkey and TRNC began holding talks on the steps to be taken against oil and natural gas exploration initiatives.
In 2010, Greek Cypriot administration and Israel signed an accord demarcating their maritime borders to facilitate a search for mineral deposits in the eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey strongly opposes Greek Cyprus' offshore gas search, saying that it disregards the rights of Turkish Cypriots on the divided island.
Last Mod: 15 Eylül 2011, 14:50