Greece called on Turkey Friday to stop provoking Cyprus as it seeks to develop hydrocarbon reserves within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), while Nicosia repeated that any gains will only be shared with Turkish Cypriots after the conclusion of a reunification settlement.
“Provocations cannot be ignored, nor can they be rewarded,” Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said after a meeting with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades in Nicosia.
The Barbaros, a Turkish survey vessel, has been conducting seismic studies in Cyprus’s EEZ since October 20 and has approached blocks that Nicosia has already licensed to foreign companies. The move prompted Anastasiades to suspend UN-brokered peace talks.
“We hope Turkey will reconsider so that talks can resume,” Samaras said.
At Friday’s meeting, which was attended by Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, the two sides sought a formula that would prompt Ankara to pull the Barbaros out of Cyprus’s maritime zone and allow Anastasiades to resume peace talks.
Nicosia repeated its position, to which Turkey objects, that a peace deal is a prerequisite to sharing any revenues from extraction.
“Hydrocarbons in Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone belong to the Republic of Cyprus, and, post-settlement, any revenue from exploitation will benefit all of Cyprus’s legal residents,” Anastasiades said.
On Saturday, Samaras and Anastasiades will meet with Egypt President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo. Asked whether Greece will forge an EEZ deal with Egypt, Samaras said that he does not wish to jump ahead of developments, adding however that all issues will be discussed.