Turkish Cypriot authorities threaten to start their own oil drilling

Foreign Minister of pseudo-state interviewed by Reuters

The pseudo-state of “Northern Cyprus” threatened to commence its own oil drilling in the island’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Speaking to Reuters news agency, the so-called Foreign Minister and Deputy PM of the Turkish-Cypriot community of the north, Kudret Ozersay said in a provocative statement that the two communities would either go together or they would not do it at all, in reference to the legitimate Cypriot government’s oil drilling operations.

“We will either do it together – by discussing, agreeing and going together – or things will stop, or we [northern Cyprus] will do the same thing: we will start exploiting and drilling,” he told Reuters.

Asked whether tension can de-escalate, he stressed that diplomacy is the first tool. “We plan to ‘freeze the waters’, not to ‘warm’ them. That’s why we did not use force in the last event. We did not even show any power. There was deterrence”, he said.

On the fact that only the south had been granted energy exploration permits, he claimed the matter was not a geographical one. “It is based on historical rights and rights deriving from cooperative democracy. Not only does the Turkish Cypriot side accept and recognise that we are co-owners of these hydrocarbon resources, but the international community and the Greek Cypriot community, also”, he added.