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Cyprus to react if Turkish vessel violates sovereign rights September 10, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Oil Crisis.
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Cyprus Government Spokesman Vassilis Palmas said on Monday that the Republic of Cyprus would react in the appropriate manner if its sovereign rights, its continental shelf or any other right that offends the nation is violated.

Replying to questions, Palmas said that, according to reports, Turkish vessel ”Piri Reis” will be carrying out seismic research from September 10 to 22 in the area west or northwest of the Republic of Cyprus. ”There is nothing more concrete relating to this information at this stage,” he added as he commented on the reports.

Palmas noted that if the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus were impinged, then the Republic, as an independent state and a member of the international community, would do ”everything that has to be done in the event that there is any violation of its sovereign rights, its continental shelf or anything that offends the Republic.”

Cyprus has invited tenders from the oil industry to carry out oil exploration off its coast to determine whether there are any oil or natural gas reserves in its exclusive economic zone. Turkey has reacted to this with threats and protests to the UN, claiming it must have a say on such matters as well.

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

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Oil Crisis.
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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.

Oil search crisis with Cyprus at the door August 3, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Oil Crisis.
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Turkish State Petrol Co (TPOA) said that its seismic search for oil and natural gas in eastern Mediterranean would continue for one to two years, NTV MSNBC, Turkey reports.

In response to the Republic of Cyprus’ Government completing its tender for oil exploration in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, Ankara said Friday that it would also act. TPOA will announce the company that will carry out the search activities in the region by the end of this month. The Republic of Cyprus has announced that it would open the tender for oil and natural gas exploration in same area by August 16.

TPAO officials say that there was a great interest in the project by foreign companies and consortiums. TPOA underlined that it has a certificate to carry out the search activities in the designated area of 12 miles in shallow water. However, the same sources say that it would difficult for the Republic of Cyprus to carry out search activities in areas that have border problems.

Ankara has given a strong response to such attempts by the Cyprus Government and when the issue was raised few months ago by the Cyprus Government, Ankara sent war ships to the area.

Turkish leader blasts Cyprus ‘invasion discourse’ July 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied, Cyprus Oil Crisis.
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Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat yesterday called on Greek Cypriots and the international community to review their interpretation events that led to the partition of the island in 1974.

Speaking at a military parade to mark the 33rd anniversary of the Turkish invasion, Talat said that describing the events of 1974 merely in terms of an invasion was both “wrong and dangerous” because it “totally denies the complicated background to the Cyprus issue”. “It is rude and simplistic… and only serves to polarise Greeks and Turks,” he told an audience of dignitaries, military officials and members of the public in the Turkish occupied and military controlled north area of Cyprus’ capital Nicosia. The “invasion discourse” also failed to take into account the “longstanding sufferings” of the Turkish Cypriot community, he said, adding that what led to Turkey’s so-called “peace operation” were “many thousands of acts of violence towards my people”.

Talat’s speech included an oft-repeated call on the EU and the international community to “persuade” the Cypriot government to ease blockades on trade and international fights to the north. By not doing so, Talat said, the EU and the UN were supporting a Greek Cypriot policy that sought to assimilate Turkish Cypriots into a Hellenic state.

Visiting the Turkish military-controlled and occupied north area of the Republic of Cyprus for the occasion, Turkish Minister of State Abdullatif Sener speech warned the Cypriot government against prospecting for oil in the eastern Mediterranean. “We are watching them, the Greek Cypriots, closely,” he said. The speeches were followed by a display of military hardware and personnel.

Cyprus mulls oil permits May 18, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Oil Crisis.
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Cyprus could issue licenses for oil and gas exploration in the east Mediterranean by the end of this year, the island’s Foreign Minister said yesterday.

Exploration plans by Cyprus have angered Turkey, its northern neighbor, with which it has been at loggerheads for decades. Cyprus says it is its sovereign right to explore for hydrocarbons, but Ankara says this could complicate already troubled peace efforts on the ethnically divided island.

“I believe that before the end of the year the first licenses for exploration will be issued,” Cypriot Foreign Minister Giorgos Lillikas said during an official visit to Warsaw.

Cypriots say provisional data suggest there are oil and gas deposits in a sea area separating the island from Egypt to its south and Lebanon to its east. The internationally recognized Greek-Cypriot government plans to open 11 areas, or “blocks” rimming the island’s south for exploration.

Cyprus’ Greek and Turkish-Cypriot communities have lived divided since a Turkish invasion in 1974 triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup, resulting in the occupation and military contol of the island’s northern part. 

Turkey has in the past warned exploration plans by Greek Cypriots could stoke tensions in the region. A Turkish oil company, TPAO, announced plans to also start hydrocarbon exploration in the east Mediterranean in early May.

At present oil majors can purchase seismic data and two-dimensional templates of the Mediterranean seabed from Cyprus. The data will be available for purchase until the end of August, at which time companies can apply for exploration permits.

“I believe that around the end of September, maybe beginning of October, the government will start analyzing these offers,” Lillikas said. “I hope the results will be promising and positive, so we will be able later to contribute by energy supplies to the energy security of the European Union.”

Part of the area open for exploration abuts Egypt’s NEMED block, where Royal Dutch Shell is extracting natural gas.

Nicosia > Turkish oil search plans illegal May 10, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Oil Crisis.
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A Turkish oil company would be violating international law if it went ahead with plans to explore for hydrocarbons in an area of the sea already claimed by Cyprus, the Republic’s Energy Minister said on Tuesday.

The company, TPAO, has opened a tender for seismic studies in a 4,000-kilometer area in the Mediterranean, apparently falling within an offshore area Cyprus plans to open for exploration. Cyprus, the northern part of which has been occupied and military controlled by Turkey since 1974, has said it is still checking the report, which appeared on TPAO’s website on Sunday.

“If this is true, it would be in violation of international law,” Energy Minister Antonis Michaelides said on state radio. “If it plans to carry out research within this zone, then obviously it will be violating the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus.” Officials said it was not clear precisely where TPAO planned to carry out research. Cyprus launched an international licensing round for offshore exploration of oil and gas in February. It plans to open 11 blocks rimming the island’s southern coast for exploration, covering a distance of about 70,000 square kilometers.

Cyprus has attempted to play down reports Turkey may be poised to challenge its plans. “It is very premature to make a fuss over this,” said Michaelides.

Cyprus’s present hydrocarbon project, or licensing round, involves oil majors purchasing seismic data and two-dimensional templates of the Mediterranean seabed. It will be available for sale until the end of August, and then companies can apply for exploration permits.

Authorities say they have encouraging signs of oil, and particularly gas deposits, on the seabed. Part of the offshore area, known as an economic exploitation zone, abuts Egypt’s NEMED block, where Shell is extracting natural gas.

Turkey tenders for oil search, set to irk Cyprus May 8, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Oil Crisis.
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Turkish oil company TPAO has opened a tender for oil and gas exploration in the Mediterranean, it said on its website late on Sunday, a move likely to increase tensions over the divided island of Cyprus, according to a Reuters report. 

The proposal covers the same parts of the eastern Mediterranean as a tender launched by Cyprus in February. “We don’t know if this is true. If it is, it is another illegality committed by the Turkish side,” Christodoulos Pasiardis, the Cypriot government spokesman, said yesterday.

The winner of the Turkish tender would carry out two-dimensional seismic studies on a 4,000-kilometer (2,485-mile) area in the Mediterranean. Studies will continue for one year after the contract is signed, TPAO said. TPAO said if bidders wanted, they could also make an offer for exploration in the Black Sea on Turkey’s northern coast.