The proposal comes as Turkey announced it will continue carrying out hydrocarbon exploration in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone despite the European Union’s negative reaction.

Northern Cypriot authorities filed a proposal to the nation’s Greek Cypriot government calling for cooperation on the extraction of natural gas off the coasts of Cyprus, the Turkish Foreign Ministry revealed on Saturday.

According to the Turkish authorities, the proposal was filed via the United Nations and will include cooperation on the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons around the island nation.

Nicosia has repeatedly slammed Turkey over the drilling operations saying that Ankara disregards international law and calls from the European Union and the international community to cease its “illegal activities” in the area.

In June, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned that Turkey’s activities off the coast of Cyprus were unacceptable, threatening a tough response after Turkey sent a second ship to search for hydrocarbons in Cyprus’ waters.

The row over hydrocarbons between the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey intensified in 2011 when the first gas deposits were discovered off the coast of the island. Ankara has repeatedly rejected Nicosia’s claims on the exclusive economic zone.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops entered the island claiming that the move sought to protect Cypriot Turks from the Greek community. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was declared in 1983 and is recognised only by Turkey while the international community considers it as a part of the Republic of Cyprus.

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