Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on November 4 that his country will block the exploitation of gas reserves in north Cypriot waters of the eastern Mediterranean. The announcement has revived tensions between Turkey and Greece, which has a defence protection pact with the internationally recognised Greek Cypriot government.

“We will not accept attempts to extract natural resources in our country, Cyprus or in the eastern Mediterranean,” said Erdogan, addressing a ceremony to mark the delivery of a naval corvette and submarine.

As reported by the Reuters news agency, Turkey and Cyprus have overlapping claims of marine jurisdiction and both plan to carry out exploratory drills this year.

Ankara only has diplomatic relations with a breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in the north of the island that is not recognized by other countries.

Breakaway north Cyprus, which is supported by Ankara, says any offshore wealth also belongs to its citizens, as partners in the establishment of the Cyprus republic in 1960, reported Reuters.

The island of Cyprus is split after a Turkish invasion in 1974.