Turkey says Greek Cypriots should reconsider gas-sharing proposals

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Greek Cypriots should reconsider a proposal to cooperate with Turkish Cypriots over the extraction of gas reserves off the divided Mediterranean island, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Turkey is at odds with Cyprus over drilling for offshore gas, claiming some of what Nicosia sees as its exclusive economic zone and demanding Turkish Cypriots in the breakaway north of the island get a share of revenue from any deposits.

Cyprus has been divided between a Greek Cypriot administration in the south that is internationally recognised as sovereign over the whole island and a breakaway Turkish Cypriot statelet, backed only by Ankara, since mainland Turkish troops invaded the north of the island in response to a Greek Cypriot coup in 1974.

"The Greek Cypriot administration immediately rejected the Turkish Cypriot side's proposal for hydrocarbon cooperation, dated July 13, as it did in 2011 and 2012, but this proposal is still on the table," Anadolu quoted Çavuşoğlu as saying.

The Greek Cypriot government says Turkish Cypriots will get their share once the island is reunited.

If the Greek Cypriot side does not accept the proposal, the Turkish Petroleum Corporation will continue its activities in areas licensed by the Turkish Cypriot side, Çavuşoğlu said. 

Turkey has sent a number of drilling ships to the waters off Cyprus to press home its claims to some of the territory and also used naval vessels to block exploration and drilling by international energy companies contracted by the Cypriot government.