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Turkey renews plans to drill off Cyprus

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey would begin exploring for hydrocarbons off the Mediterranean island in the coming days, frustrated by what it sees as Cyprus' unilateral exploitation of natural resources.
Turkish and Turkish Cypriot flags wave next to a drilling tower 25 km (16 miles) from Famagusta April 26, 2012. Turkish Cypriot Leader Dervis Eroglu and Turkey's Energy Minister Taner Yildiz attended a ceremony marking the start of joint gas and oil exploration works in northern Cyprus between Turkey's state-owned energy company TPAO and the Turkish-Cypriot administration. REUTERS/Umit Bektas (CYPRUS - Tags: POLITICS ENERGY BUSINESS) - GM1E84Q1HIQ01

ISTANBUL — Turkey will soon begin offshore drilling near the island of Cyprus, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday, risking another flare-up of tensions in the eastern Mediterranean and following a rebuke of his government from the European Parliament (EP) over a failure to resolve territorial disputes on the divided island.

Turkey has no formal relations with the internationally recognized government in Cyprus and keeps tens of thousands of troops in the island’s breakaway north, administered by Turkish Cypriots, after invading in 1974 to thwart a short-lived Greek Cypriot coup. International efforts over the decades to reunite Cyprus’ ethnic Greeks and Turks have failed and the lack of a settlement has contributed to obstructing progress on Turkey’s bid to join the European Union, to which Cyprus belongs and with which Turkey began formally negotiating in 2005.

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