Source: AP – Nicosia
He added that although the Cypriot authorities do not have conclusive evidence, he believes that Turkey obtained data that helped direct its drilling ship to the specified target.
The target is in a region that has granted licenses to Eni and Total to conduct a search for hydrocarbons. The two companies were allowed to conduct exploratory drilling in seven of the 13 Cyprus regions, which constitute an exclusive economic zone.
“There is information, perhaps correct, that they stole plans and studies from a particular company, which is why they went to a specific location,” Couchos said in comments to state television.
He added that he did not indicate that Eni or Total had handed over the data to Turkey. He stressed that Turkey continues to violate international law by continuing illegal drilling activities in Cypriot waters. “Unfortunately, Turkey has become a piracy country in the eastern Mediterranean,” he said.
Koshos denied Turkey’s claim that Cyprus was holding secret negotiations with Eni over the search for hydrocarbons in the region.
Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said today, Wednesday, that the European Union is moving ahead with sanctions against individuals or companies involved in illegal drilling operations off Cyprus.
On the other hand, Turkey insists that it is working to protect its interests and those of the Turkish Cypriots in the region’s energy reserves.
She pointed out that part of the Cyprus economic zone is located within its continental shelf, and that its prospecting activities are also part of the agreement with the Turkish Cypriots.
Cyprus was divided along ethnic lines in 1974 when Turkey invaded the island after a coup by supporters of the union with Greece. Only Turkey has recognized the independence of the Turkish Cypriot-controlled part.
Cyprus joined the European Union in 2004, but only the southern part, the seat of the internationally recognized island government, has membership.
Other companies that Cyprus has granted a license to conduct gas exploration include, Exxon Mobil and its partner Qatar Petroleum, as well as Texas-based Noble Energy and its partners Delic of Israel and Dutch Shell.
So far, three gas fields have been discovered off the southern coast of Cyprus.