Cairo - Egypt on Saturday expressed concern over Turkey’s plan to drill for natural gas off Cyprus and warned against repercussions of the Turkish bid on regional stability.

In recent years, relations between Cairo, an ally of Cyprus, and Turkey have deteriorated over the latter’s staunch backing for the Muslim Brotherhood, which is designated in Egypt as a terrorist organisation.

“Egypt is following with interest and concern ongoing developments about the announced intentions of Turkey to start drilling activities in a maritime area west of the Republic of Cyprus,” the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

It warned against “repercussions of any unilateral measures on security and stability of the Eastern Mediterranean region.” The statement said: “Any actions by states in the region need to abide by the rules of international law and its provisions.”

Ties have soured between Egypt and Turkey since the army’s 2013 overthrow of Islamist president Mohammad Mursi, a senior Brotherhood official, following enormous street protests against his rule.

In late 2013, Egypt expelled the Turkish ambassador to Cairo and downgraded diplomatic ties to the level of charges d’affaires in response to Ankara’s criticism of Egyptian authorities’ crackdown on Mursi’s supporters.