The likelihood of any profits from oil or gas exploration off Cyprus is years away but Turkey – which has unlawfully occupied the northern third of the island since an invasion in 1974 – insists that it should share in any returns if they happen.
Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz said that any profits gained from oil and natural gas from the eastern Mediterranean should belong to people the people of Cyprus, including the Turks.
Comparing the island to Iraq, Yildiz told a press conference ‘the same way we say oil extracted from Iraq belongs to Iraq, we say that any oil or natural gas extracted anywhere around Cyprus belongs to Cyprus,” according to World Bulletin.
The remarks came as negotiations to reunify the island have stalemated and as antagonism between the two sides continues to escalate.
The Greek Cypriot government has been involved in joint oil and natural gas explorations with Israel, as well as discussing deals with Egypt, which Turkey opposes due to the unresolved Cyprus problem.
Turkey has sent a ship to search for oil in the Mediterranean Sea between the occupied part and Turkey, angering the Greek Cypriots.