Cyprus to continue gas exploration despite fierce Turkish opposition

Cyprus to continue gas exploration despite fierce Turkish opposition
Turkey has already used warships to block foreign oil companies from exploring a new gas field discovered earlier in February.
1 min read
21 February, 2018
The discovery of offshore gas has flared up a decades-old dispute [Getty]

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said on Wednesday that the country will continue its search for offshare gas, despite strong opposition from Ankara and the nation's breakaway Turkish Cypriots, according to AP.

Anastasiades said that any new wealth generated from potential new gas fields would be shared equitably with all Cypriot citizens after unification - the island is split between the ethnic Greek Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Anastasiades added that proceeds would be deposited into a sovereign wealth fund.

The Cypriot president also repeated an appeal for the resumption of peace talks on condition that Turkey stops obstructing drilling south-east of the country. Earlier this month, Turkish warships had blocked a rig from the Italian energy firm Eni's ships from reaching its target.

Ankara has warned foreign oil companies not to "overstep the mark". Turkish officials said the gas search ignores Turkish Cypriot rights to the island's resources.

On 13 February, a Turkish vessel collided with a Greek coastguard boat, sparking new tensions between the two NATO members.

Ankara and Athens later agreed to use "dialogue" to settle future maritime disputes.