05:14 GMT07 April 2020
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    In recent years, rivalry over natural resources has become one of the main issues in the territorial conflict on Cyprus, which began in 1974 after Turkey launched an invasion of the island.

    Meral Aksener, leader of the Turkish nationalist iYi (Good) party, speaking in front of parliamentarians in Ankara on Wednesday, said that the dispute over rights to the eastern Mediterranean's potential oil and gas reserves could lead to a war.

    The Turkish "she-wolf," the nickname given to Meral Akşener during her run for president against incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdogan, used the code phrase "Aishe will go on holiday again," which was the signal for the launch of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974.

    "You should know that if need be 'Aishe will go on holiday again'," Meral Aksener warned, reaffirming that "Cyprus is Turkish and will remain Turkish."

    The motive for Aksener's speech was the exploration for hydrocarbons off the coast of Cyprus, conducted by international energy companies in collaboration with the Greek-run southern government of Cyprus, according to The Guardian.

    Earlier this week, US energy giant ExxonMobil began exploration for natural resources south of Cyprus, prompting a harsh reaction from Turkey.

    "We have warned the Greek Cypriot administration to stop the unilateral exploration for hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean," Hami Aksoy, spokesperson for the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

    "We renew our warnings to the companies involved… we remind them that sharing the natural resources of the island of Cyprus relates to the core of the Cyprus issue," he highlighted, concluding that Exxon's activities could "change specific and delicate balances in relation to resolving the Cyprus issue."

    Turkey also announced plans to start its own exploration operations in areas north of the island.

    "We will start activities in the areas licensed by the Turkish Cypriots to Turkish Petroleum, in addition to our continental shelf," Aksoy stated on 18 November.

    READ MORE: Athens Rejects Ankara's Protest Against Greek Plans to Expand Territorial Waters

    Cyprus is an island in the Eastern Mediterranean that is divided into two parts — one is the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognized only by Turkey, and the other is the Republic of Cyprus. The split happened after Ankara launched an invasion of Cyprus in 1974. Since then, Turkey has maintained a military presence on the island, supporting local Turkish authorities on the northern part of the island.

    READ MORE: UK, EU Agree on British Military Bases in Cyprus, Gibraltar

    opposition, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, Cyprus
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