(Vatican Radio) Tensions are mounting between Cyprus and Turkey over oil and gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Drilling of an appraisal well in block 12 of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone has begun and is expected is set to last approximately four months.
In a written statement, the Turkish Cypriot administration says these “provocative steps” are “an unacceptable approach which increases tension in the area”.
At the heart of the dispute is how any revenues from the oil and natural gas exploration will be shared between Greek Cypriots, who control the internationally recognized government, and Turkish Cypriots in the north.
Turkey, which backs the Turkish Cypriots, says it objects to the drilling and that it will take action if the exploration goes ahead before a solution to the 37-year-old division of Cyprus is found.
Some analysts say the oil and gas exploration will add extra pressure to the any attempt to re-unite the island, with UN sponsored peace talks expected to resume in October.