Turkey's PM says Greek Cypriot gas search 'dangerous'

A man passes the graves of soldiers killed in the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in the Tymvos Macedonitissas military cemetery, during the 43rd anniversary in the divided capital of Nicosia, Cyprus, Wednesday, July 19, 2017. Greek and Cypriot soldiers were killed in 1974 during the Turkish invasion and subsequent occupation of the northern part of the island of Cyprus. Cyprus was split into Greek Cypriot south and Turkish Cypriot north in 1974 when Turkey invaded in response to a coup by supporters of union with Greece. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
A woman changes the flowers at the grave of her relative, a soldier killed in the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, in the Tymvos Macedonitissas military cemetery, during the 43rd anniversary in the divided capital of Nicosia, Cyprus, Wednesday, July 19, 2017. Greek and Cypriot soldiers were killed in 1974 during the Turkish invasion and subsequent occupation of the northern part of the island of Cyprus. Cyprus was split into Greek Cypriot south and Turkish Cypriot north in 1974 when Turkey invaded in response to a coup by supporters of union with Greece. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
A woman and others pass the graves of soldiers killed in the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in the Tymvos Macedonitissas military cemetery, during the 43rd anniversary in the divided capital of Nicosia, Cyprus, Wednesday, July 19, 2017. Greek and Cypriot soldiers were killed in 1974 during the Turkish invasion and subsequent occupation of the northern part of the island of Cyprus. Cyprus was split into Greek Cypriot south and Turkish Cypriot north in 1974 when Turkey invaded in response to a coup by supporters of union with Greece. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
A woman cries by the graves of soldiers killed in the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in the Tymvos Macedonitissas military cemetery, during the 43rd anniversary in the divided capital of Nicosia, Cyprus, Wednesday, July 19, 2017. Greek and Cypriot soldiers were killed in 1974 during the Turkish invasion and subsequent occupation of the northern part of the island of Cyprus. Cyprus was split into Greek Cypriot south and Turkish Cypriot north in 1974 when Turkey invaded in response to a coup by supporters of union with Greece. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

NICOSIA, Cyprus — Turkey's prime minister says a Greek Cypriot search for oil and gas off Cyprus is "dangerous" and is throwing efforts to reunify the ethnically divided island into deadlock.

Binali Yildirim says Turkey sees the east Mediterranean's potential hydrocarbons wealth as an opportunity for regional cooperation.

But he called the search by the island's Greek Cypriot dominated government as "one-sided" and "badly timed."

A consortium composed of France's Total and Italy's Eni is now conducting exploratory drilling 104 miles (167 kilometers) off Cyprus' southern coast.

Turkey, which doesn't recognize Cyprus as a state, insists drilling flouts Turkish and Turkish Cypriot rights to Cyprus' mineral riches.

Yildirim was speaking Thursday in Cyprus' breakaway Turkish Cypriot north during celebrations for a 1974 Turkish invasion that followed a coup aiming at union with Greece.

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