Greek FM Says Turkey Covets Energy Finds Off Cyprus

FILE

FILE - An undated photo of the the Saipem 12000 drilling floater. (Saipem via AP)

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is upset that potentially lucrative energy fields off Cyprus aren’t under his control as Turkish warships keep trying to keep foreign companies from drilling where they are licensed.

Greece and Turkey, which has occupied the northern third of the island since an unlawful 1974 invasion, are guarantors of security on Cyprus along with the United Kingdom, the former Colonial ruler which still keeps a military base there.

Speaking on Greece’s SKAI TV, Kotzias said that part of the reason Turkey has stepped up provocations in the Aegean is because the oil and gas fields that the companies hope to discover aren’t in areas Turkey controls.

“Their appetite has been whetted; their appetite must be cut,” he said of Turkey’s designs off the island. Erdogan has demanded that any revenues derived from energy finds be shared with Turkish-Cypriots – which Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades already offered.

Erdogan though said unless Turkish-Cypriots are involved in the decision-making process going on outside the occupied land that they would undertake drilling near the same areas.

Kotzias said the internationally recognized Cyprus government wants to establish a common fund for future revenues “to be used throughout the island. In the future, I am not saying now. But this will be decided by the Cyprus government,” at some point.