Cypriot president: Turkey's reaction to gas drilling unlawful
Azerbaijan , Baku, Sept. 26 / Trend A. Isgandarov/
The President of the Republic Demetris Christofias has said that Turkey's reaction to Cyprus' drilling activities in its Exclusive Economic Zone is unlawful.
He pointed out that this response reflects an equally illegitimate move, which established the Turkish Cypriot regime in northern Turkish Cyprus. It also echoes Ankara's illegal agreement with the regime to delineate the continental shelf in the area between Turkey's southern coast and Cyprus., Famagusta Gazette newspaper reported.
President Christofias was delivering on Thursday the 8th annual "Emile Noel lecture", at the Jean Monnet Center for International and Regional Economic Law and Justice of the New York University's School of Law, on "the state of the European Union".
Speaking to the Center's Director, J.H.H. Weiler, President Christofias said that many countries have expressed their respect to Cyprus' right to exploit its natural resources within the country's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), according to the provisions of the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea.
Moreover, he said that Turkish Premier Tayyip Erdogan was for the moment under pressure with regard to his threats against Cyprus, and predicted that Erdogan will not take recourse to military means or wage war in order to stop Cyprus from its exploration activities.
Asked whether Cyprus will continue with its exploration in the EEZ, the President said it would carry on with drilling.
Regional tension rose after Cyprus's Greek Cypriot government announced on Tuesday that drilling had begun in a southeast offshore area adjoining a gas field in Israeli waters reputed to be the world's largest find in the past decade.
Texas-based Noble Energy is carrying out the drilling in the Cypriot block. Speaking in New York on Thursday, Cypriot President Demetris Christofias said more blocks could be thrown open for exploration over the next 12 months.
Turkey contests an Cypriot-Israeli accord signed last year to create exclusive economic zones in the waters between them.
It also argues that Cyprus should not be exploiting natural resources until a settlement is reached between the Greek Cypriot government and a breakaway Turkish Cypriot state for the reunification of the island, and that any revenues should benefit both communities.
Christofias gave assurances this week that any money earned from a gas find would be used for the good of both sides regardless of whether a settlement had been reached.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan touched on the dispute in an address to the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday,according to Sabah newspaper.
"Turkey expects to see that all parties involved make efforts so that the Greek Cypriot administration ends initiatives that cause tension not only in the island but the region," he said. "Otherwise, we will do what we have to do."
After Nicosia began working to develop the shelf near the shores of the island, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara will explore for oil and gas in the exclusive economic zone of Northern Cyprus along with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.