Energy exploration is adding a new wrinkle to the Turkish-Greek rivalry over the island of Cyprus.
The Cyprus conflict has been virtually frozen since 1974, when a coup by Greek Cypriot nationalists who wanted to unite the island with Greece prompted Turkish forces to invade the northern portion of the island. The self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is recognized as a state only by Ankara, and it remains economically dependent on its mainland big brother.
A move by Greek-Cypriot officials to allow Nobel Energy, a Houston, Texas-based firm, to drill for natural gas off the island’s coast has set off another round of geopolitical jockeying. On April 26, Turkey's state oil company TPAO began onshore drilling for oil, with the potential proceeds to be split 50-50 with the de-facto Turkish-Cypriot government. An agreement to search for natural gas off the island’s northern coast also has been signed.
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Justin Vela is a freelance reporter based in Istanbul.