AFP
Last updated: 15 November, 2011

Turkey halts oil search with Syria

Turkey said on Tuesday it has halted joint oil exploration with Syria and threatened to cut energy supplies to its neighbour as relations sour over the Syrian regime’s bloody crackdown on demonstrators.

“We are currently exporting electricity (to Syria). If the situation continues like this, we may be in a position to revise all these decisions,” Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said.

Turkey, once a close ally of Damascus, has been exporting electricity to Syria since 2006.

Yildiz also said that Turkey’s Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) has stopped exploration with the Syrian national oil company in six wells, according to the Anatolia news agency.

The minister’s remarks come in the wake of weekend attacks on Turkish diplomatic missions in three Syrian cities.

Thousands of pro-regime protestors armed with knives and batons attacked the missions in Damascus as well as the cities of Aleppo and Latakia on Saturday over Turkey’s support for an Arab League decision to suspend Syria.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier on Tuesday that Ankara had abandoned hope that Syria would respond to international demands to halt violence and initiate democratic reforms.

Erdogan, once a close political ally and a personal friend of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, has for months expressed frustration at Assad’s failure to listen to his people as the death toll in Syrian mounts.