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Turkey accuses Cyprus of stirring East Med tension

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Turkey has accused Cyprus of increasing tension in the Eastern Mediterranean after a consortium of Italian and French energy companies found more natural gas off the island last week.

Cyprus’ hydrocarbon activities “have been carried out unilaterally” and “violate the rights of the Turkish Cypriots, who are one of the co-owners of all natural resources of the island,” Turkish foreign ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgic said.

“These activities also increase the tension and threaten peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean,” he said in a statement.

He added that Turkey “would not allow hydrocarbon exploration or exploitation activities in its continental shelf without consent.”

A consortium of Italy’s Eni and France’s Total Energies found more natural gas off Cyprus in a third discovery by those energy giants.

Cyprus’s exploration programme is hotly disputed by Turkey, which cites overlapping jurisdictions on its own continental shelf or in the waters of the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state, recognised only by Turkey.

Cyprus’ internationally recognised government, viewed as representing the whole island, dismisses those claims.

Turkey does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus. Attempts over the years to broker peace between the two sides have failed. (source Reuters)