jump to navigation

EU > Cyprus has the right to conclude bilateral agreements March 27, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied, Cyprus Oil Crisis.
comments closed

Cyprus as a sovereign state has the right to conclude international agreements with third countries, according to the acquis communautaire and the international law, a European Commission official pointed out during the EU-Turkey Association Committee’s 115th meeting held Thursday in Brussels.

EU sources said that this position as outlined by the European Commission official was rejected by a Turkish diplomat, who claimed that the Republic of Cyprus does not represent Turkish Cypriots and cannot conclude bilateral agreements.

The Commission called on Turkey to cooperate so that contact between air traffic control centres of Cyprus and Turkey can be established for the sake of flights and passengers. The Turkish side appeared negative on this issue as well, stating that Turkey only recognises the airports, operating illegally, in the Turkish-occupied and military controlled parts of Cyprus.

The Commission also called on Turkey to stop vetoing Cyprus’ the participation in international organizations, an issue also rejected by the Turkish side, which implied that Turkey will continue to follow this tactic.

The Turkish diplomat was also negative regarding the implementation of the Customs Union between Turkey and the ten new EU member states, including the Republic of Cyprus, something which would demand the opening of Turkish ports and airports to Cypriot airplanes and vessels.

The Republic of Cyprus has already signed bilateral agreements with Egypt and Lebanon regarding their exclusive economic zones. Cyprus launched on February 15, 2007, the 1st Licensing Round Offshore Cyprus for the grant of hydrocarbon exploration and development licenses, a move which triggered the reactions of Turkey.

The Republic of Cyprus, which joined the EU in May 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

Turkey, a country aspiring to become an EU member state, does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus and refuses to implement the EU-Turkey Customs Union Protocol, which provides for the opening of its ports and airports to Cyprus.


Cyprus > Interest will frustrate Turkey March 25, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Oil Crisis.
comments closed

Strong interest shown by international oil companies in Cyprus’ offshore oil and gas rights will make it difficult for Turkey to frustrate the sale of those licenses, Finance Minister Michael Sarris said Thursday.

“I think there will be enough oil companies from significant, powerful countries, it will be difficult to frustrate this,” Sarris told Dow Jones Newswires.

Cyprus is planning to auction oil and gas exploration rights for an initial 11 blocks of territory covering a total area of 60,000 sq. kilometers (23,166 sq. miles) mostly in waters to the south and east of the Republic of Cyprus.

Turkey does not recognize the Republic’s government, favoring a breakaway so-called and illegal Turkish Cypriot state recognized only by Ankara, and has sought to disrupt the oil plan, warning Cyprus not to proceed with marking out offshore sea boundaries.

To date, international oil companies, including ExxonMobil Corp and Royal Dutch Shell PLC, have purchased documents required to bid for the first licensing round. BP PLC, Lukoil and Total SA are also among the 10 oil companies that so far have bought the data packages.

European Council cautions Turkey over Cyprus oil dispute March 22, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Oil Crisis.
comments closed

The German Presidency of the European Council urged Turkey on Monday to avoid any action that could negatively affect the principle of good neighborly relations and the process of peaceful settlement of disputes.

The German Presidency statement came in reply to a question from Greek Cypriot politician and MEP Yiannakis Matsis. The question related to “Turkish threats” against The Republic of Cyprus on the issue of the bilateral agreements concluded by the Greek Cypriot Government with third countries for the exploitation of natural gas and oil reserves around the island, claiming the area is within its sovereign territory and the exploitation boundaries of its economic zone.

In arguing its position, the German Presidency cited European Council resolutions made in Helsinki in 1999 and Brussels in 2004 and last year, which called for unequivocal commitment to good neighborly relations between all member states of the European Union as well as of candidate countries. At the same time, the German Presidency reiterated Turkey’s responsibility to achieve progress in the normalization of bilateral relations between Turkey and all EU member states, including the Republic of Cyprus and the Greek Cypriot Government. “This normalization of bilateral relations is one of the requirements that Turkey should fulfill against which progress in the accession process will be measured,” the statement added.

The German Presidency stated that the issues mentioned are covered in the negotiating framework, constitute short-term priorities in the revised accession process and are systematically raised by the EU at the political dialogue meetings with Turkey. The Presidency assured MEP Matsis that it attaches great importance to them and follows developments closely, as progress in this regard will also have an impact on the advancement of the accession negotiations.

Late last November, the Commission recommended the suspension of talks with Turkey on eight of 35 chapters. This was because Turkey refused to implement the Ankara Protocol and open its trade to vessels from The Republic of Cyprus. Last December, Turkey offered to open one port and one airport to trade from Greek Cyprus, in order to send a positive signal ahead of the member state’s decision on whether to suspend the talks. But the opening never occured and EU decided to freeze eight of the 35 negotiation chapters.

Cyprus is divided between an internationally recognized Greek Cypriot Government of The Republic of Cyprus in the south and the Turkish military controlled and occupied areas of The Republic in the north. Turkey invaded The Republic of Cyprus in July 1974. The Republic joined the European Union in May 2004.

Turkey bites back on Cyprus February 23, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Oil Crisis.
comments closed

Ankara rebuffed claims yesterday by Athens and Nicosia that it is not cooperating in the effort to find a solution to the Cyprus problem and insisted that it has done everything that has been asked of it.

“Turkey has fulfilled its commitments on the Cyprus issue,” said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “Even though we have met our obligations, they continue to criticize us. If the other side had done everything it promised, there would no longer be a Cyprus issue.”

Erdogan was reacting to statements by Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos after the two met on Wednesday.

Karamanlis accused Ankara of using “delaying tactics” over restarting Cyprus talks under the auspices of the United Nations. Papadopoulos charged that Turkey made “threats and provocations” after Nicosia revealed it was pursuing offshore oil and gas exploration projects. Turkey’s influential National Security Council is due to meet today to discuss this issue, among others.

Armed forces chief Yasar Buyukanit caused concern in Athens and Nicosia earlier this month when he claimed that Turkey’s rights to explore undersea oil and gas reserves extend to the center of the Mediterranean. He also stressed that Turkish warships are constantly patrolling the Aegean and Mediterranean.

An official from the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus claimed yesterday that Nicosia does not have the right to represent the whole island in oil exploration deals.

“No agreement without our views and signature will be valid,” said Turgay Avci after meeting Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul in Ankara.

Meanwhile, Archbishop Chrysostomos of the Cypriot Orthodox Church and the top Muslim cleric in occupied northern Cyprus, Ahmet Yonluer, met for the first time on the island yesterday.

Chrysostomos described the meeting as “a positive step forward” and said the pair had agreed to tackle the issue of renovating abandoned churches in the north of the island and fixing crumbling mosques in the south.

Cyprus and Turkey face off over oil resources February 22, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Oil Crisis.
comments closed

cyprusdivided.jpg  Cyprus has been divided since July 1974 after Turkey invaded The Republic of Cyprus and since then occupies the northern part of the country. Note that the so-called and illegal “Turkish republic of northern Cyprus” has been recognized only by Ankara.

Cyprus is determined to press ahead with offshore oil and gas exploration, despite Turkish objections that Greek Cypriots would reap all the benefits.

Oil has certainly led to its fair share of disputes around the world, but it is not normally the cause of tension in the Mediterranean, until now. A new row has erupted between the governments of Cyprus and neigboring Turkey over oil. Cyprus has vowed to press ahead with oil and gas exploration off its coast, despite strong objections from Turkey.

“We will exercise our sovereign rights,” President Tassos Papadopoulos said Wednesday, although he admitted that Cyprus was uncertain if the fuel deposits off the island’s southern coast were even sufficient for exploration. Turkey and Turkish Cypriots have objected to Cyprus opening up bidding to international oil companies.

Speaking after talks with Greece’s Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis in Athens, Papadopoulus insisted: “The exploitation of deposits, if they are located in commercially exploitable quantities, and that is a major if, will be handled accordingly.”

The government in the Cypriot capital Nicosia opened bidding for 11 offshore areas last week. It claims that American, Russian and Chinese oil firms have already expressed an interest in exploring the sites. Cyprus has already signed deals with Lebanon and Egypt to mark out its Mediterranean sea boundaries, despite Ankara’s objections.

Karamanlis said it was “self evident” that Cyprus had a right to conduct offshore exploration, and that Turkey was “obliged to maintain good neighbourly relations and conform to international law.”

Papadopoulos accused Turkey of engaging in “threats and provocations” because it had warned Cyprus not to go ahead with the project. Ankara has said that exploration would conflict with Turkish rights in the area, as well as those of Turkish Cypriots and that any benefits would only go to Greek Cypriots.

Turkish officials have said that they are going to proceed with their own exploration plans, something that is making Athens uneasy in turn. Greece and Turkey came close to war in 1987 due to a previous dispute over oil rights in the Aegean Sea.

The island of Cyprus has been divided into a Greek Cypriot south and Turkish Cypriot north since Turkey invaded the island in 1974. Turkey, the only country in the world to recognize the breakaway so-called and illegal Turkish Cypriot republic, does not recognize the southern state, which is a member of the European Union.

The issue of Cyprus has become a stumbling block for Ankara’s aspirations to join the European Union, with Brussels having partially frozen accession talks due to Turkey’s refusal to allow Cyprus to use its ports or to recognize the country.

Further reading > Is Ankara Gambling Away its EU Future?

Oil majors show interest in offshore plans of Cyprus February 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Oil Crisis.
comments closed

Russian, Chinese and US oil firms are among those showing interest in exploring the eastern Mediterranean where there are “very good indications” of oil and gas, the Cypriot Energy Minister said yesterday.

Cyprus launched an international licensing round for offshore exploration of oil and gas last week in spite of opposition from Turkey, its northern neighbor, which has warned the move could stoke tensions in the region. Cypriot Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Antonis Michaelides rejected Turkey’s opposition. Nicosia would not back down, he said.

“We are doing nothing more or less than exercising our sovereign rights,” Michaelides told Reuters in an interview.

Cyprus, now heavily reliant on fuel imports, which represent 16 percent of its annual import bill, plans to open 11 blocks lying south and southwest of the island for exploitation. It is the first time it has undertaken such an endeavor. Cyprus almost immediately faced the ire of Turkey, which supports a breakaway Turkish-Cypriot state in the island’s north.

In a process which runs until July 16, companies can purchase seismic and two-dimensional templates of the Mediterranean seabed, covering about 70,000 square kilometers. Oil majors have shown an interest, and some have purchased the dossier, but it remains to be seen if the interest will manifest itself in an exploration bid, Michaelides said.

“No one is in a position right now to talk about exact quantities of either oil or natural gas,  the two-dimensional and seismic data show there is a good, very good indication of satisfactory quantities of hydrocarbons in the Cypriot economic zone,” said Michaelides.

At a presentation in Nicosia last week, Norwegian and French consultants contracted by the Cypriot government said their data suggested the probability of finding untapped hydrocarbons trapped at depths of up to 3,000 meters, particularly natural gas, was high.

Cyprus will be offering three types of licenses: a one-year prospecting license, an exploration license valid for three years with the possibility of two renewals of two years each time, and an exploitation license, granted for an initial period of 25 years. It can be renewed once for up to 10 years.

It has already presented its plans at road shows in London and Houston, Texas. A presentation was also planned in Russia in March, Michaelides said. “From information I have, some of the big companies have already bought the dossier,” he said, adding that interest was shown from companies based in the United States, Russia, India, China, Germany, France and Norway.

“Whether this interest will turn into an active submission of an application for exploration remains to be seen.”

Cyprus in oil spat February 17, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Oil Crisis.
comments closed

Turkey asked Cyprus Thursday to cancel its tender for oil exploration and drilling rights off the Mediterranean island.

The Greek Cypriot Government, which is the only and legal Governemnt of The Republic of Cyprus, launched the first round of tenders for oil exploration and drilling rights off the divided island.

“We expect Greek Cyprus to end its initiatives to launch international tenders which violate the joint rights of the island ‘s two communities and amount to a fait-accompli,” Levent Bilman, spokesman for the Turkish foreign ministry, said in a statement. “Continuation of the tender process will adversely affect peace and stability on the island of Cyprus,” he said.

According to local media reports, the first round of licensing involves 11 offshore blocks covering a total of approximately 23,000 square miles to the south of Cyprus.

Ankara says it has “legitimate and legal rights and interests” in the oil-and-gas exploration area where Cyprus wants to begin drilling. Ankara says it wants Turkish Cypriots to have a say in the island’s oil and gas rights.

Cyprus has been divided since July 1974 when Turkey militarily invaded and occupied the north area of the Cyprus Republic following a coup by a group of Greek officers. The Republic of Cyprus joined the European Union in the name of the whole island. The Greek Cypriot controlled area of Cyprus and its Government is internationally recognized as opposed to the occupied northern area of Cyprus and its so-called Turkish administration, which is recognized only by Ankara.