Turkey ‘won’t allow’ Cyprus govt to carry out ‘unilateral’ gas search off E. Mediterranean

Ankara won’t allow Cyprus’ government to carry out a “unilateral” gas search off the east Mediterranean island as long as breakaway Turkish Cypriots don’t also reap the benefits, the Turkish energy minister warned on Thursday. For two weeks, Turkish warships citing naval exercises have prevented a rig from reaching an area southeast of Cyprus where Italian firm Eni plans to carry out exploratory drilling. Ankara has extended naval maneuvers in the area. Minister Berak Albayrak said that Turkey would block an offshore hydrocarbon search until there is an accord to reunify ethnically split Cyprus, AP reported. “As long as a concrete and rational solution is not produced, we have to be effective,” Albayrak told an energy forum in Istanbul. “If unilateral exploration is conducted, as Turkey we will not allow it.”