ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday warned foreign oil companies over energy exploration off Cyprus, describing those who defy Ankara as “bandits of the sea” who would face a similar response as its foes in Syria, reports AFP.
Erdogan said in a speech marking the commissioning of a new Turkish warship that exploiting the resources of the eastern Mediterranean while excluding Ankara was unacceptable.Drilling for hydrocarbon resources off EU member Cyprus is hugely sensitive as its northern third is occupied by Turkish forces who invaded in 1974 in response to a coup aimed at uniting the island with Greece.
The Turkish-populated northern part of the island then declared the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which is recognised only by Ankara. UN-backed efforts to reunify the island have so far come to nothing.
“As we made the terrorists in Syria pay, we will not leave the scene to the bandits of the sea,” Erdogan said at the commissioning of the TCG Burgazada, the third home-built corvette combat ship launched by Turkey as part of its MILGEM project.