Cyprus: Turkey's Gas Search "Threats" Could Sink Peace Talks

Αssociated Press

Flowers are seen on the barrels with barbed wires that blocks a road crossing from the south, Greek Cypriot, to the north, Turkish Cypriot breakaway controlled areas in the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Monday, April 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

NICOSIA (AP) — The spokesman for Cyprus' government says Turkey's "threats" to prevent oil and gas exploration off the ethnically divided island could be designed to scuttle ongoing reunification talks.

Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said Monday that Turkey's actions were further hampering peace talks that are being held in a climate that "essentially can't produce results."

Turkey opposes the search for hydrocarbons, saying it ignores the rights of Turkish Cypriots to any potential mineral wealth.

The island has been split in a breakaway Turkish Cypriot north and an internationally recognized Greek Cypriot south since 1974.

French energy company Total is scheduled to drill an exploratory well off Cyprus' southern coast in mid-July. As part of the ongoing dispute, a Turkish ship is currently conducting seismic surveys off Cyprus.