NICOSIA – Cyprus’ government spokesman said that Turkish-Cypriots in the northern third unlawfully occupied since a 1974 invasion are ceding their rights and future to Turkey after unity talks collapsed last year.
Nicos Christodoulides was responding to the self-declared energy minister, Ozdil Nami, on the occupied side recognized only by Turkey that Turkish-Cypriots should have a role in the search for oil and gas off the coast and that the program should be ceased until they do.
Cyprus has licensed foreign companies to drill in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) but Turkey doesn’t recognize that and sent in warships to scare off a research vessel from an Italian company which had to veer off toward Morocco after reportedly being threatened with being sunk.
“It is remarkable that, firstly, the Turkish Cypriot leadership seems willing to serve any plans by Turkey, which will sacrifice not only the rights of the Turkish Cypriots, but also their own future,” Christodoulides told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA).
Commenting on the terms and conditions as laid down by Nami, he added: “Since the convergence at the negotiating table on the issue of natural resources is clear, the reluctance of the Turkish side to resume talks is apparent”.
He added: “Mr. Nami’s warnings about Turkey’s intentions, are also in fact warnings to the United States, France, Italy, Israel, Egypt, and of course the EU itself,” he added, referring to Nami’s threat that Turkey could and might even resort to blockading all of the plots in the island’s EEZ, although it wasn’t clear if it would be willing to take on the US Navy.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who won’t recognize Cyprus and bars its ships and planes at the same time he wants entry into the EU although talks have stalled for more than a decade, said his country wants a share of any energy revenues if oil and gas is found.