Backed by Turkey, North Cyprus claims a share in any offshore assets by reason of its partnership in the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960.
According to Greek Cypriot Finance Minister George Lakkotrypis, the deal struck with US energy giant Nobel Energy and commercial partners to extract gas from the Aphrodite field off south-east Cyprus, could potentially bring in over nine billion US$ over an estimated 18-year lifespan of the reservoir.
However, the Turkish foreign minister has pointed out that there has been no mention of Turkish Cypriot sharing in the deal, in an area said to overlap their territory.
They “cannot ignore the fact that Turkish Cypriots are co-owners of the island and that they have equal rights on (its) oil and gas resources”, he said in a statement.
Earlier on Friday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey was determined to defend the rights of Turkish Cypriots, and said drilling and exploration ships under the protection of the country’s navy were “transitioning to the region.”