With American and Qatar energy companies ignoring warnings not to drill for oil and gas off Cyprus, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry ramped down the rhetoric to say the hunt for reserves off the island “does not contribute to stability in the area” and may potentially change a certain “delicate balance” about reunifying the island.
That was a far cry from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s threats he wouldn’t allow foreign companies to drill, which ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum have begun in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ,) parts of which Turkey doesn’t recognize.
Turkey had sent warships off the island previously and was able to scare off a vessel from the Italian company Eni which veered off and without the Italian Navy intervening to help one of the country’s major businesses.
Turkey said it will now, instead of challenging the foreign companies, egin similar explorations to areas in which its self-declared Republic on the island, which no other country recognizes, has licensed Turkey’s state oil company TPAO to explore.
Turkey said foreign energy companies licensed to drill in Cyprus’ EEZ, parts of which Turkey doesn’t recognize, are trespassing on its rights to hunt there as well, disregarding Turkish-Cypriots who’ve been unlawfully occupying the northern third of the island since a 1974 invasion.