Cyprus on Tuesday denounced Turkey's warning against any deal the Cypriot government signed for exploration of offshore oil reserves in the east Mediterranean.
Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a written statement earlier in the day, saying it would not recognize any agreement Greek Cypriots signed with neighboring countries for the delimitation of the exclusive economic zone as Turkey and Turkish Cypriots also had rights in the region.
Christodoulos Pashiardis, spokesman for Cypriot government, said that Ankara's statement constitutes "not only an unacceptable provocation, but also a flagrant threat against Cyprus, Lebanon and Egypt as well as against peace and stability in the area."
He added that "Turkey's demands to assert rights and interests regarding the oil and natural gas reserves at the exclusive economic zone of the Republic of Cyprus are not backed by the international law or rules."
The Republic of Cyprus has signed agreements with Egypt and Lebanon on the delimitation of undersea borders to facilitate future oil and gas exploration after initial seismic findings show possible hydrocarbons in its economic zone.
The first round of international bidding for the exploration and exploitation of possible oil reserves is scheduled on Feb. 15.
But Turkey warned that countries and companies which think of launching oil and natural gas exploration under "null and void licenses" should take into consideration "the sensitivity of the situation and will of Turkish Cypriots."
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey militarily intervened and occupied the north of Cyprus following a coup by a group of Greek officers.
In 1983, the Turkish Cypriot authorities declared breakaway and set up "the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus", which is recognized only by Turkey.