NICOSIA – Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has told Turkey to stop harassing Cyprus but stopped short of calling on Anakara to withdraw a warship and an energy research vessel off the island.
Turkey is looking for oil and gas in Cyprus’ sovereign waters and so far hasn’t been challenged by the United Nations, European Union, NATO or the United States.
“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.
Anastasiades, who had offered to share the proceeds with Turkish-Cypriots, took that off the table and said he wants talks resumed to reunify the island divided by an unlawful Turkish invasion in 1974.
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 the meeting, which was attended by Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Greece and Cyprus tried to figure a way to convince Turkey to withdraw its ships and for the unity talks to resume.
Anastasiades repeated his 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’ legal residents,” Anastasiades said.
On Nov. 8 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.