Ignored by UN, Cyprus Again Protests Turkish Energy Hunt


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

Despite repeatedly getting no help, Cyprus has again protested to the United Nations about Turkey, this time ongoing hydrocarbon explorations in the Mediterranean island’s continental shelf and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ,) parts of which Turkey won’t recognize.

In a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Cyprus’ permanent UN representative Kornilios Korniliou said that Turkey is conducting seismic surveys in the blocks 1, 8, 9 and 12, adding that Nicosia has already granted license to energy companies Total, from France, and ENI, from Italy, to explore for and exploit oil and gas reserves in blocks 8 and 9.

Korniliou said that Turkey’s exploration violates Cyprus’s sovereign rights as stipulated by international law and, in particular, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which Turkey also doesn’t recognize.

The latest protest comes two months after the last, in January, when Korniliou sent Guterres a letter described the activities of Turkish research vessel Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa as illegal, Kathimerini reported.

There was no report of Guterres, who had failed to broker reunification of the island divided since 1974 unlawful Turkish invasion, reading or responding to the letters and there was no indication what the government wants done other than to complain again as it has often.

This time the stakes are higher though as US energy giant ExxonMobil reported a major gas find in areas where it is licensed to drill despite Turkey having sent warships into the area in a bid to keep foreign companies out.