Turkey condemns Cyprus over natural gas exploration license

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Turkish Foreign Ministry PHOTO: AFP

Turkey has condemned Cyprus’ announcement on Wednesday that a consortium composed of energy companies Total of France and Eni of Italy has been licensed to explore for natural gas deposits off the Mediterranean island’s southern coast, the Ekathimerini news website reported.

In a statement on Thursday Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said the move disregards the rights of Turkish Cypriots on the island while indicating Nicosia’s “failure to understand our determination, despite all our warnings.”

“As repeatedly underlined and shared with the international community, a section of the so-called license area number 7 remains within the Turkish continental shelf, which has been registered with the United Nations,” he said.

“As has been the case so far, Turkey will in no way allow any foreign country, company or vessel to engage in unauthorized hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation activities within its maritime jurisdiction areas, and will continue to take the necessary measures to protect its rights and interests,” he said.

Nicosia’s behavior, he added, does “not contribute to peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

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