Ankara will not allow for any independent natural gas exploration projects in the east Mediterranean, Turkey's Minister of Transport, Maritime and Communications Binali Yildirim told the Turkish Daily Hurriyet on Saturday.
Yildirim's statement followed a comment made by President Shimon Peres, who – while on a State visit to Cyprus – lauded Israel's joint gas exploration projects with Cyprus.
- Cyprus: Offshore gas search to continue
Turkey will not stand for any "threats" by Israel over its proprietary interests, he said: "The Turkish 'road map' on the matter is clear… No project will be allowed to take place without Turkey's consent."
Much of Peres' visit to Nicosia focused on Israel and Cyprus' collaborations in the field of maritime gas exploration. But the matter is at the heart of growing tensions between Turkey and Cyprus.
Ankara and Nicosia have launched UN-brokered negotiations to try and resolve the gas rights dispute.
The Cypriot government is under contract with Noble Energy, which is partially owend by Israeli businessman Yitzhak Tshuva. Cyprus is set to hold gas explorations in an area bordering Israel's territorial waters, where a vast depository of natural gas is believed to exist.
Israel and Cyprus have recently signed a new cooperation agreement in the field of energy development, exploration and conservation.
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