ATHENS (dpa) – Cyprus’ National Council, a top advisory body to the president, was holding an emergency session Monday after a Turkish research vessel began exploring for oil and gas off the island’s southern coast.
The government in Nicosia was discussing their response after the vessel, known as Barbaros, began its surveys off the coast of Cape Greco, in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone.
The Barbaros is accompanied by two support vessels, south-east of the island, the government said.
Turkish Cypriot Leader Dervis Eroglu had announced earlier this month that the survey would take place, prompting Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades to pull out of UN-led peace talks.
The exploration is in an area where the Greek Cypriot government has already awarded the Italian-Korean consortium ENI-KOGAS a licence to conduct exploratory drilling for natural gas.
After a two-year stand-off, peace talks resumed earlier this year after both sides agreed on a document to reunify the island as a bizonal federation consisting of two communities. Both have failed to agree on issues ranging from power sharing to the claims of thousands of displaced persons.
The island has been divided into a Greek Cypriot south and Turkish Cypriot north since 1974, after Turkey invaded the north in response to a Greek-led coup.