Greek Cyprus’ new foreign minister will complain about Turkey to third countries and international organizations, including the UN Security Council and the European Union, in response to Turkish warnings regarding Greek Cypriot plans to drill for gas in the Mediterranean.
Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, who was appointed to the post in a cabinet reshuffle last week, said she will be discussing the matter with Greek officials during a visit to Athens later this week in order to formulate a common strategy against Turkish warnings, Greek Cypriot daily the Cyprus Mail reported on Tuesday.
The Greek Cypriot government is also considering reporting Turkish statements to the UN in the hopes that the UN secretary-general will mention them in his next progress report on Cyprus talks later this year, according to the daily. The Greek Cypriot minister’s remarks came after Turkish warnings last week, with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu saying Ankara will show the “appropriate reaction” if Greek Cyprus moves ahead with its exploration plans.
He said the Greek Cypriot administration does not have the right to embark on oil and gas exploration in the Mediterranean unless the Cyprus issue is resolved and a government representing the entire island is formed.
Greek Cyprus has announced that drilling for hydrocarbons off the island’s southern coast will start on Oct. 1. Turkey objects to any Greek Cypriot search for oil and gas inside the island’s 51,000 square-kilometer (17,000 square mile) exclusive economic zone off its southern coast, saying it’s in violation of the rights of Turkish Cypriots, who run their own state in the north of the island.
Marcoullis claimed Turkey has not realized that it needs to play by the rules if it wants to join the EU, noting that a threat made against one member state is a threat against the entire 27-nation bloc.
Greek Cyprus earlier licensed American Noble Energy to explore an 800,000-acre area bordering Israeli waters where massive gas fields were found under the seabed.