Turkish threats will not deter hyrodrocarbon exploration efforts, Cyprus says

Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said his country would not give in to threats after his Turkish counterpart said the Cyprus government was making a big mistake by going ahead with exploration and drilling for offshore gas.

Turkey has repeatedly objected to Cypriot plans to exploit potential offshore gas reserves. Earlier this year Turkish naval vessels twice blocked an exploration vessel from carrying out exploratory drilling in the region. Turkey says a breakaway Turkish Cypriot enclave in the north of the island, which is only recognised by Ankara, has a right to a share in the reserves.

“Threats, wherever they come from, are a sign of weakness,” Greek daily Kathimerini quoted Christodoulides as saying. “We will not behave with threats, grandiose statements or gestures that aim to create an impression,” he said and vowed that Greek Cyprus would make no changes to previously announced plans to explore for natural gas in the waters of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

His comments came after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu penned an article in Greek newspaper Ta Nea in which he warned Cyprus against drilling for hydrocarbons in its EEZ. “If they still think that they have nothing to lose, they are making a big mistake,” Çavuşoğlu said.