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Cyprus and Turkey had a brief spat over natural gas reserves in the Mediterranean over the weekend, with Turkish officials escorting Eni’s drilling ship away from sensitive waters, according to a new report by Shephard Media.
Cypriot officials are claiming the act violated international law because the forced move constituted military activity in the disputed area.
“We are keeping calm in order to avoid any crisis and taking all diplomatic steps necessary so that finally Cyprus' sovereign rights can be respected,” Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, said. “We are handling the situation by trying to avoid anything that could worsen the situation without ignoring the fact that Turkey's actions are in breach of international law.”
Turkey and Cyprus have faced-off regarding natural resources in the Mediterranean in the past, especially because of Ankara’s ongoing argument that the northern portion of the island belongs to Turkey.
The Turkish foreign ministry’s statement of the unfolding of events over the weekend reflects the vigor of the territorial claims made in 1974, during the Turkish invasion of the island nation, now a member of the European Union.
“[Cyprus conducts] unilateral hydrocarbon-related activities in disregard of the inalienable rights on natural resources of the Turkish Cypriot people, who are the co-owners of the Island,” the statement read. “This unconstructive Greek Cypriot attitude also constitutes a major obstacle to the settlement of the Cyprus issue.”
Cyprus has been in the news for its gas discoveries over the past weeks, raising Turkish eyebrows over exploitation of waters that could be considered Ankara-ruled after the border issue is resolved. Supermajors Eni and Total have made a promising gas discovery offshore Cyprus last week that confirms that the Zohr-like play, where Eni found the biggest gas deposit in the Mediterranean offshore Egypt, extends into the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone, the Italian group said. Eni has made a lean gas discovery in Block 6 offshore Cyprus, encountering an extended gas column with “excellent reservoir characteristics.”
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…