Cyprus: Yes to Turkey as gas ally, but no gunboat diplomacy

NICOSIA, Cyprus — Cyprus' president says he'd like to have Turkey as an ally in the island nation's bid to exploit potential offshore gas reserves, but Ankara must stop its "gunboat diplomacy" that prevents exploratory drilling.

President Nicos Anastasiades said Tuesday he's pleased with the European Union's expression of solidarity with Cyprus and "unprecedented strong condemnation" of Turkey's move last month to send warships that blocked drilling by Italian company Eni.

He said Turkey's argument that it's acting to safeguard the interests of breakaway Turkish Cypriots in the ethnically split country's natural resources is a "cover" to achieve its goal of controlling the east Mediterranean's hydrocarbon reserves and to act as a prime energy supplier to Europe.

Anastasiades said Turkish Cypriot rights are fully protected because any proceeds from the gas deposits belong to all Cypriots.

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