Erdogan attacks Cyprus over exploration license

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Cyprus of violating Turkey’s continental shelf by awarding an exploration license in the Mediterranean to ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum.

“This unilateral step taken by the Greek Cypriot administration (the Republic of Cyprus) shuns the rights of our country and of Turkish Cypriots,” Erdogan said.

“A part of the license field in question violates Turkey’s continental shelf in the Eastern Mediterranean and disregards the rights of Turkish Cypriots who are co-owners of the island,” he said.

Erdogan said that Turkey’s Foreign Ministry will be monitoring developments.

Nicosia said last week that its Council of Ministers had agreed to grant the license to ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum for hydrocarbon exploration in Section 5 of Cyprus’ declared exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which lies south, south-west of the island.

For decades, Turkey has been at odds with Greece and Cyprus over competing territorial claims in the East Mediterranean, air space, energy, the status of some islands in the Aegean, and the ethnically-split island of Cyprus.

Greece and Turkey do not agree on the limitations of their respective continental shelves, while in the case of Cyprus, Turkey does not acknowledge that the Nicosia government, which it doesn’t recognize, has a continental shelf at all.