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Cyprus ignores Turkey’s threats not to proceed with oil exploration August 5, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Oil Crisis.

The Government of Cyprus has repeated it would not be intimidated into scrapping bids for oil drilling off Cypriot shores after Ankara stepped up its campaign to halt the process with a direct appeal to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Ankara’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Baki Ilkin last week sent a letter to Ban disputing Nicosia’s jurisdiction over the occupied north. He also scolded the Cyprus Government for inviting tenders in defiance of Turkish warnings against doing so.

Ambassador Ilkin, according to Turkish daily Zaman, said in his letter: ‘Greek Cyprus is trying to create a fait accompli in the region’ and warned that ‘Turkey is determined to protect its rights and interests in the Eastern Mediterranean.’

Cyprus Commerce Minister Antonis Michaelides said that Nicosia would not back down in the face of Turkish intimidation tactics, because it knows full well that international law is on its side.

‘The Cyprus Government won’t give into Turkey’s threats because its position is grounded in law and is fully in line with clause 83 of the Law of the Sea,’ Michaelides told the press.

Michaelides recalled that both US Ambassador to Nicosia Ronald Schlicher and British High Commissioner Peter Millett have made clear that Cypriot sovereign rights were indisputable because Nicosia is on the right side of international law.

Several major oil companies have expressed interest in purchasing seismic data and two-dimensional charts of the Mediterranean seabed off the island’s southern coastline where there are significant oil deposits.

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