NICOSIA — Cyprus’ Foreign Minister says Turkey’s stated intention to search for oil and gas in waters where the ethnically-split island nation has licensed an Italian-South Korean consortium to drill could upset reunification talks.
Ioanis Kasoulides says productive negotiations can’t continue “under such conditions of provocation.” He told reporters that Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades will decide soon on how to respond.
Cyprus was divided in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup aiming to unite the island with Greece. Turkey doesn’t recognize Cyprus as a state and opposes the country’s offshore energy search, claiming it disregards the rights of breakaway Turkish Cypriots.
Cypriot government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides called Turkey’s move a “serious breach” of Cyprus’ sovereign rights as well as the rights of Italy’s Eni and South Korea’s Kogas.