South Cyprus has rejected Turkey’s claim that bloc 6 of the South’s EEZ is Turkish maritime territory.
Responding to a statement issued on Tuesday by Turkey’s foreign ministry, which warned energy companies bidding for offshore bloc 6 that any exploratory activity is unauthorised since it lies partially within the Turkish continental shelf – a claim supported only by Turkey.
Historically, Turkey, which does not recognise the South’s EEZ has claimed that bloc 1,4, 6 and 7 encroach on Turkish territorial waters. Turkey has not signed up to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The Greek Cypriot foreign ministry said that this was repeat of “Turkey’s well known, unacceptable and legally baseless views, and an expression of its provocative and destabilising stance”.
“The Republic of Cyprus is determined to protect its sovereign rights, using all means available to it via international law. If Turkey questions these rights, it has but to act peacefully and seek the internationally prescribed legal remedies.”
Referring to the fact that Italy’s ENI and France’s Total had jointly bid for drilling rights in bloc 6, the ministry said that this “is the best response to the Turkish claims”.
“The Republic of Cyprus is determined to move forward with exploiting its natural resources, particularly its hydrocarbons resources, in order to promote economic growth and prosperity for all the people of Cyprus, without discrimination,” the statement said.
“With the solution of the Cyprus problem, all the people of Cyprus will be able to benefit from this wealth. Thus, Turkey has only but to cooperate and work toward achieving a settlement.”
The ministry reiterated that the ongoing reunification talks on the island “are not linked, in any way, to the exercise of these [sovereign] rights.”