Turkey, Greek Cyprus withdraw vessels searching for gas to resume talks

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 30.03.2015 17:38
Updated 31.03.2015 10:24
Turkey, Greek Cyprus withdraw vessels searching for gas to resume talks

Turkey has reciprocated Greek Cyprus's move to withdraw its vessel that has been searching for natural resources off the Mediterranean island's coast, by sending back its own vessel that monitored the same mission to Turkey in a bid to resume peace talks that were suspended by Greek Cyprus after the announcement of Turkey's plan to search for gas off Cyprus.

Greek Cyprus is expected to return to the negotiating table to resume peace talks that the Greeks and Turks pursued until the latter's announcement that it would search for gas in the waters off Cyprus claiming the natural resources off the southern Cyprus coast belong to the whole island. Since then, a Turkish vessel, the Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa, has been exploring the region for gas, which angered Greek Cyprus. However, in a recent decision, Turkish Cyprus has reportedly announced that it will halt the search to restart the suspended peace talks.

Özdil Nami, the Turkish Cypriot foreign minister, told the Associated Press on Monday that the Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa, which has been exploring for gas the last couple of months, will be sent back to Turkey.

Turkish Cyprus responded to Greek Cyprus withdrawing its vessel that has been searching for natural resources off the island on their part by ordering the Turkish vessel that sought the same purpose to leave the waters and be sent back to Turkey.

Nami, speaking to state-run TV channel BRT, said that the Greek Cypriot vessel is leaving the region and that they had decided to withdraw the Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa as a display of good-will in response.

Turkey and Turkish Cyprus have opposed Greek Cyprus's unilateral move to explore for natural resources off the southern coast of the island, supporting the belief that the island's natural resources should be used fairly by a united Cyprus.

The Turkish Cypriot government has reiterated that the resources of the island belong to both communities and Turkish Cypriots will pursue their right to the resources.

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