Minister for Energy Ozdil Nami, has said that within the framework of the agreements between Turkey and the TRNC, Turkey’s vessel ‘Fatih’ will begin exploration for natural gas and oil offshore Cyprus in the middle of February. “We will protect the rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriot people on the natural gas issue just as on other issues as well and we will take the necessary steps”, Nami told Turkish Anatolia news agency (AA).
Noting that his government has been submitting proposals for cooperation on this issue to the Greek Cypriot side, Nami argued that there was no positive reply to date and added: “This will come to be or it will not come to be. We will continue acting within the framework of the agreed timetable of strategic policies which we established with Turkey”.
Reiterating the view that the Turkish Cypriots had also rights to the natural gas which lies under the seas surrounding the island, Nami described as “unreasonable and unacceptable” the proposal made by President Nicos Anastasiades saying that the rights of the Turkish Cypriots on the income from the natural gas should be put into a fund until a solution to the Cyprus problem was reached. “If the income from the natural gas without a solution is deposited in a fund, no one should touch this fund. The Turkish side will show the necessary response to this”, he said.
Nami reiterated the view that the simplest, fastest and most economical way to transfer natural gas extracted from the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe, was through Turkey.
He added that outside the exploration activities, they want to be connected with Turkey on the natural gas issue and that they were holding meetings with the Turkish Ministry of Energy and Turkish Botas company officials to establish a natural gas connection between Turkey and North Cyprus.
Referring to the UN Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), Nami said that UNFICYP has been turned into a means by which the Greek Cypriots maintain the status quo and that the UN should have sent a message to the Greek Cypriots by renewing UNFICYP’s mandate for three months rather than six.