Turkey warns Cyprus over oil and gas plans

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Turkey warns Cyprus over oil and gas plans

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Turkey has branded plans by Cyprus to begin oil and gas exploration in the Mediterranean as a ‘provocation’.

The internationally-recognised Greek Cypriot government wants to go ahead with drilling off the island’s south coast.

Turkey, the only country to recognise the state of northern Cyprus, says any reserves would also belong to Turkish Cypriots and has vowed to send warships to the area.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the plans were a “provocation” and “one-sided”.

“If this fait accompli continues, we have steps of our own we can take. Northern Cyprus can carry out the same explorations with Turkey’s help.

“We will not accept any fait accompli. The international community must understand this,” he said.

Cyprus has been divided since Turkey invaded the northern third of the island in 1974 in response to an Athens-backed coup d’etat.

The leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities resumed reunification talks in 2009 and negotiations are ongoing. The UN has called on both sides to resolve the energy dispute peacefully.