In April the three countries agreed to move forward with a Mediterranean pipeline project to carry natural gas to Europe, setting a target date of 2025 for completion. In June, a trilateral heads of state meeting dedicated to the topic took place in Thessaloniki, Greece. The estimated cost of the project would be up to 6 billion euros ($6.7 billion).
Turkey insists that the Republic of Cyprus doesn't have an exclusive right to the island's hydrocarbon resources, and seeks to have an ability to use the gas fields and buy cheap gas, which does not seem easy because of the French company's presence.
Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 following a Greek Cypriot coup led by militants hoping to reunify the country with Greece. Established in 1983, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is recognized as a sovereign state only by Ankara. The international community considers it to be part of the Republic of Cyprus.
In response, the Defense Ministers of France and Italy conducted official visits to Cyprus, at the invitation of the Cypriot Minister of Defense Christoforos Fokaides.
"Turkey will not succumb to provocations. Turkey will not carry out a military intervention in Cyprus in the wake of the French and Italian actions. At least, not instantly," Turkish diplomat Oktay Aksoy told Sputnik.
"We will turn to NATO first, as we are members of the Alliance. We will try to explain the situation. However, if the Alliance takes the side of the European countries, Turkey will take stringent measures on its own, up to direct interference in the internal affairs of the island."
Cyprus News Agency cites a "reliable source" as saying Turkey refused to withdraw its military contingent from the island. Turkey's stance on the issue became the stumbling block of the negotiations. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, the UK's Permanent Representative to the UN, said, commenting on the talks: "We called for a time of reflection and pause and we encouraged the parties not to get in any sort of blame game."
"Having accepted Cyprus, with all its unsolved problems, the European Union has committed the irreparable. The Greek Cypriots are completely satisfied with the existing situation. They are the EU members and claim to represent the whole island. That's why they are not interested in the settlement of the Cyprus problem," Aksoy said.