The European Union has harmed itself by siding with the Greek Cypriots and imposing sanctions on Turkey for drilling for gas offshore Cyprus.
Last month the EU imposed a series of punitive measures in retaliation for Turkey’s drilling activities offshore the island, which it considers illegal. The measures included a freeze on pre-accession assistance to Turkey for 2020 by €145.8 million, the suspension of negotiations for an aviation agreement, and a review of lending to Turkey from the European Investment Bank, a report by Haberturk said.
“The EU, which announces so-called measures because of drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean, is harming itself. The EU has found itself in a position where it supports inequality over equality, injustice over justice and cruelty over peace in the island”, Erdoğan said at a press conference in Ankara with TRNC Prime Minister Ersin Tatar.
The president said that no project in the eastern Mediterranean could be realised unless Turkey and Turkish Cypriots are taken into account.
On Monday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced that a fourth Turkish vessel, survey ship ‘Oruc Reis’, had been dispatched to the eastern Mediterranean to join the ‘Fatih’ and ‘Yavuz’ drillships and ‘Barbaros’ seismic survey vessel already searching for gas off Cyprus, despite the objections of the United States and the EU to Turkey’s increasing drilling activities near the island.
“Our naval and air forces are on duty for our vessels to carry out their (drilling) activities securely”, Erdoğan said. “Those who want to test our country’s determination in this regard should have learned their lessons”.
Turkey maintains that attempts by Cyprus to conduct gas exploration are a violation of the rights of the Turkish part of the divided island. Turkey also has territorial claims that overlap with Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
“The sacrifices Turkey has made to protect the rights and interests of Turkish Cypriots empower us”, PM Tatar said in Ankara, adding that the Turkish government’s hydrocarbon exploration activities in the region served both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.