Cyprus applies to international court in minerals dispute with Turkey

Cyprus sought recourse at the International Court of Justice at The Hague to safeguard its offshore mineral rights.

Cyprus is determined to use every legal means possible to protects its sovereign territory, President Nicos Anastasiades said, as a dispute with Turkey over oil and gas exploration around the island showed no signs of abating.

"Our recourse to The Hague has that very purpose," Anastasiades told journalists in the Cypriot capital of Nicosia on Thursday, according to news outlets including Reuters and the Associated Press.

Turkey is embroiled in a dispute with Cyprus and Greece over rights to mineral exploration. Cyprus has approved licenses to several multinational companies to search for oil and natural gas, while Turkey and Turkish-controlled north Cyprus reject the Greek Cypriot claims and Ankara has sent its own drilling ships to the area.

Cyprus sought to deliver a notice of its intentions to seek legal recourse to Turkey's embassy in Athens but it was not accepted, Anastasiades said, according to Reuters.

"So it was sent another way," he said. "There is proof that it was received, so that gives (Cyprus) the right to recourse."

Cyprus was partitioned along ethnic lines in 1974, when Turkey invaded the north in response to a Greek Cypriot coup backed by Athens. Turkey keeps around 30,000 troops there.

The European Union and United States have backed Cypriot claims to the oil and gas and have called on Turkey to back down in the mineral dispute.