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Cyprus to protest Turkish oil warnings January 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Oil Crisis.
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Cyprus said Wednesday it will protest to the U.N. and the EU over Turkey’s warnings over the island’s oil exploration plans, and vowed to press ahead with a tender for the project.

Government spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardis said Cyprus will lodge a complaint, within the day, on Turkey’s “provocative behavior.”

Turkey warned Lebanon and Egypt on Tuesday not to press ahead with oil and gas exploration deals signed with Cyprus on January 17, saying Turkey and Turkish Cypriots also had rights in the region.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said Turkey had “legitimate and legal rights and interests” in the eastern Mediterranean and insisted Turkish Cypriots also had a say in the island’s oil and gas rights.

“We consider Turkey’s threats as unjustified and baseless reactions of an incorrigible regional troublemaker, and we proceed with the implementation of our decisions,” Pashiardis said.

The Cypriot government has said it would launch an international tender in February for offshore oil and gas exploration licenses.

“Nothing has changed,” Pashiardis said. “We are proceeding exactly how we planned, exercising, as an independent and sovereign state, our legal, inalienable rights that are secured by international law.”

Also Wednesday, Greece said Turkey had no right to interfere with Cyprus’ plans, accusing Ankara of violating international law.

“Turkey’s reaction is not productive and opposes aims which are peaceful and are designed to promote economic development in the eastern Mediterranean region,” Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said. “It is in total contradiction with international law and the right of a sovereign government to negotiate international agreements.”

Greece and Turkey remain at odds over Cyprus and boundaries in the Aegean Sea, despite efforts over the past decade to resolve disputes and Greek backing for Turkey’s bid to join the EU.

The Mediterranean island has been divided into a Greek Cypriot south home of the internationally recognized government and Turkish Cypriot north recognized only by Ankara, since a Turkish military invasion in July 1974 sparked by a coup supporting union of the island with Greece.

Turkey has no diplomatic relations with the Greek Cypriot government in the south and supports a self-proclaimed and illegal breakaway Turkish Cypriot state, recognized only by Ankara.

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