The Turkish-owned seismic survey vessel ‘Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa’ has begun surveying operations off the south coast of Cyprus, Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Kudret Ozersay has announced. The vessel owned by the Turkish Petroleum Company (TPAO), has been licensed by the TRNC, Ozersay said.
“We are doing now what we said we would do. We have come to the point of conducting a drilling operation now. Therefore, we will decide the location where the drilling operation will be conducted. For this reason, the ‘Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa’ was transferred to the licensed areas F and G, as declared by the TRNC to carry out seismic explorations”. He noted that the work was not being carried out for mere show but because there was a high probability of finding natural gas in the area.
The TRNC has declared some marine areas [EEZ] off both the north and in the south coasts of Cyprus, just as the Republic of Cyprus has done. Ozersay recalled that they had licensed TPAO to carry out exploratory drilling in the same way that the Republic of Cyprus had licensed ENI and Exxon Mobil.
Ozersay reiterated that his proposal for cooperation between the two sides on the search and production of natural gas before a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem is found, was still viable. They did not want the issue of natural gas to become an element of conflict, he said. “And we know that if we sit and talk and start cooperating before the solution [is found], the Eastern Mediterranean will become a more stable region”, he argued.
“Because the development of trade and cooperation among all actors in this region will create interdependence, no one will risk the possibility of a conflict from that point on. We think that cooperation and interdependence are a must for peace in the area”, he concluded.