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Turkey plans oil exploration off South Cyprus

22 July 2013

Trouble may be brewing following the announcement made by the Turkish Minister of Energy Taner Yildiz that Turkey will search for gas and oil in the exclusive economic zone claimed by South Cyprus.

The Turkish Cypriot Press And Information Office sent out a bulletin on Friday reporting that Yildiz said: “We are planning to make seismic studies also in South Cyprus in an area of 10 thousand 500 kilometers. First area of study of our Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa ship shall be in South Cyprus.”

Minister of Defence Fotis Fotiou has responded that Turkish threats will not change South Cyprus’ plans as regards its energy policy.

“Cyprus acts in the framework of international law and no threat, or blackmail will hamper the implementation of our plans on the energy sector. The message is clear: The only thing such actions can do, is to destabilize the region”, he said.

Last week, the South Cyprus parliament approved amendments to existing legislation on the continental shelf, allowing South Cyprus to designate security zones around installations in its self-declared exclusive economic zone.

Turkey has long disputed South Cyprus’ declaration over the EEZ as it says that part of that area belongs to Turkey’s continental shelf.

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