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Turkish FM: We’ll Keep Drilling With or Without Greek Cypriots’ Approval

Turkey will continue drilling for gas in waters off Cyprus if the Greek Cypriot government does not accept a cooperation proposal put forward by Turkish Cypriots, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Sunday. The proposal by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci suggests that both groups cooperate in exploration and exploitation of gas, as it could contribute to stability and peace in the region. Tensions flared after Ankara told energy firms not to work with the Greek Cypriot government and sent two ships to begin drilling off the island. Turkey’s Fatih ship started drilling off western Cyprus in May. A second drilling ship, Yavuz, arrived off the northeastern coast last week. The disagreement is rooted in overlapping claims to the waters by both the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey. Ankara claimed sovereignty over northern Cyprus in 1983, a move that was widely condemned by the international community, with not a single state recognizing it as such. Peacemaking efforts between the two have failed to find a resolution.