Turkish PM pledges response to Exxon's Cyprus “provocations”

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said at a press conference with Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Prime Minister Tufan Erhürman that the Republic of Cyprus would not be allowed to get away with selling the energy resources surrounding the island, left-wing Birgün newspaper said.

“The natural riches surrounding the island of Cyprus is the common wealth of all the people who live on the island,” Yıldırım said.

“This and other provocative activities that create faits accomplis will be responded to in an appropriate fashion.”

Turkish online website Diken said Turkish PM's remarks were a response to the U.S. energy giant Exxon's decision to send survey ships to Cyprus to explore resources.

The U.S. and the E.U. issued statements to back Cyprus rights to gas exploration.

Turkish President Erdogan, on Tuesday, reacted to press reports that the U.S. Sixth Fleet heading to the Mediterranean, said, "while European states' boats abandoning refugees to death, we try to rescue every innocent's life. You can only make it there with your Sixth Fleet, aircraft carrier."

On Wednesday, in Ankara, Turkish Prime Minister Yildirim said, any underground riches surrounding the island should only be extracted with the permission of both the island’s administrations.

“Any work in which one of these interlocutors is not part of the deal will be evaluated by us as a threat to the sovereign rights of North Cyprus.”

International society, Yıldırım added, should rethink its position on the island in order to create a sustainable solution.

TRNC's Erhürman stated last week during a press conference that Cypriot Turks must participate in all decision making and administrative processes regarding gas exploration developments in Cyprus.