Turkey is closely following the hydrocarbon explorations by the Greek Cypriot administration pursued unilaterally in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu has said. “Our country is determined to take all necessary measures to protect the rights and interests of its own continental shelf and to continue to support the Turkish Cypriot side”, said Çavuşoğlu.
The Turkish foreign minister was responding to a written question from a Turkish Cypriot MP regarding proposals for a fair, lasting and comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem. This is one of the main priorities of Turkey’s foreign policy, he said.
Çavuşoğlu said the following:
“Finally, the Cyprus Conference in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, was held to reach a solution within the framework of the two pillars of a new partnership based on the political equality of the two communities. The two sides on the island signed the 11 February 2014 Joint Declaration, showing that we have exhibited political will. Despite the contribution of our country and the Turkish Cypriot side to the whole framework of the negotions and the will to resolve it, the Greek-Greek Cypriot duo has not responded with the sincere and resolute stance that is necessary. The conference was incomplete and was closed down. Thus, the comprehensive negotiation process that started in 2008 has come to an end.
“Finally, on July 20, with the signing of the Peace and Freedom Day celebrations, Çavuşoğlu emphasised that Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım visited the Turkish Cypriot authorities, President Mustafa Akıncı, Prime Minister Huseyin Özürgürgün and Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğrul.
“On the other side, the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus is closely following the unilaterally conducted hydrocarbon studies in the Eastern Mediterranean, ignoring the fundamental rights of the Turkish Cypriots, who are the common owners of the island’s natural resources.
“Since 2003, the Greek Cypriot Administration has tried to create unilateralist oil and natural gas exploration agreements, unilateral initiatives to restrict maritime jurisdiction in the Eastern Mediterranean on behalf of the entire island. With these one-sided initiatives, the Greek Cypriot Administration has attempted to seize the rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriots in all the resources of the island. In addition to the Turkish Cypriots, our objections to this agreement, which violates the rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriot people, have been recorded in writing and sent to all interested parties and the United Nations.
Attempts by the Greek Cypriots to establish the status quo in the region have obliged the Turkish Cypriots to take countermeasures to protect the island’s equal and indispensable rights over all natural resources. To this end, the “Turkey-TRNC Continental State Restriction Agreement” was signed on 21 September 2011. In addition, on 22 September 2011, Turkish Republic Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) petroleum and natural gas exploration licenses were granted by the TRNC Council of Ministers and seismic exploration works were carried out by TPAO in the relevant areas of the island. Likewise, the delineations of Turkey’s continental shelf have been registered with the United Nations (UN).
Certain sections of the GATS – international trade agreement coincide with our country’s continental shelf in the Eastern Mediterranean. Our country is determined to take all kinds of measures to protect the rights and interests of its own continental shelf and to continue to support the Turkish Cypriot side. The activities of the Greek Cypriots in these areas will not be permitted in any way whatsoever. The activities of the Turkish Cypriots, in view of their legitimate rights, are demonstrated by the necessary actions in coordination with the TRNC government.”