NICOSIA Feb 3 Cyprus will complain to the
United Nations, it said on Monday, after the Turkish navy
expelled a ship looking for gas in disputed waters in the
Turkey disputes Cyprus's rights to a swathe of sea to the
island's south and southeast that are rich in natural gas
reserves, adding to long-standing tensions between the
neighbours. Turkey lies to Cyprus's north.
The Turkish military said that one of its ships radioed a
Norwegian vessel sailing in what it described as its maritime
zone, ordering it to leave the area on Saturday night. There was
no further incident.
The ship was carrying out research for Total, one of three
hydrocarbon companies licenced by Cyprus to seach for gas,
Cypriot authorities said.
"We will continue to monitor the area very closely," a
Turkish official said.
Cyprus says the waters, are part of its own offshore area,
where it has awarded research concessions to France's Total
, U.S. company Noble Energy Inc and South
"This provocative behaviour by Ankara in no way affects
plans to exploit the hydrocarbons of our country," a government
Greek Cypriots run an internationally recognised government
which in theory represents the whole island but which in
practice ends at a ceasefire line. North Cyprus, where Turkish
Cypriots live, is a breakaway state recognised only by Turkey.
Cyprus said the ship incident did not bode well for a rapid
resumtion of long-stalled reunification talks.
"I think they should seriously consider whether, under these
circumstances, the climate is conducive to starting talks," said
Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides.
(Reporting By Michele Kambas; Additional reporting by Orhan
Coskun in Turkey; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)