Turkey’s deputy president says his country is “not afraid of anyone” and will not be deterred from continuing drilling for oil and gas in disputed waters that have been a source of tension between Ankara and ethnically-divided Cyprus.
“We are not afraid of anyone. Those who seek an adventure in the eastern Mediterranean will get an answer,” Deputy President Fuat Oktay says during a ceremony to mark the 38th anniversary of the Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence.
Oktay’s remarks come after the Cypriot government said that ExxonMobil and partner Qatar Petroleum would resume drilling in a few weeks, in an area southwest of Cyprus, where they are licensed to prospect for oil and gas.
A consortium made up of energy companies Total of France and Italian Eni will also resume drilling off Cyprus’ southern coast in the first half of next year.
Turkey does not recognize Cyprus as a nation and contests waters where the Cypriot government claims exclusive economic rights. Ankara says a large chunk of those waters either overlap its continental shelf or belong to the Turkish Cypriots. The Cypriot government insists Turkey’s actions contravene international law.