Turkey to US – ‘Don’t sacrifice talks in Cyprus for natural gas’

Things are really heating up in the eastern Mediterranean. According to a Turkish daily, Ankara is launching an international campaign to draw attention to the contested nature of Mediterranean economic zone agreements following a Greek Cypriot decision to begin exploring for natural gas deposits off its southeast coast. Turkey, according to an article published in www.hurriyetdailynews.com has been urging the US administration to postpone the date of natural gas exploration activities of a US firm off the coast of Cyprus until the island is reunified. Turkey, according to the article, made this request because the Greek Cypriot exploitation of the island’s common natural resources could entirely sap the southern territory’s desire for a solution.
An official from the Turkish Foreign Ministry told the Hürriyet Daily News on Sunday that Ankara is urging Washington “not to sacrifice the political reunification process of Cyprus for trade.” “We told US officials that the unilateral oil and natural gas exploration activities by the Greek Cypriots were against international law and could lead to the end of the ongoing negotiation process for Cyprus unification,” the official said.
Turkey has already conveyed its reservations to the US Embassy in Ankara and to the US State Department in Washington and will bring the issue to the attention of higher-level US officials, he said. Turkey plans to convey its concerns to the members of the U.N. Security Council. Ankara objects to two aspects of Greek Cyprus’ agreements with Israel, Lebanon and Egypt in the eastern Mediterranean region, which is believed to possess large reserves of natural gas.
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