In the ongoing dispute over marine territory where Turkey maintains that it has a right to search for hydrocarbons in waters which it considers to be part of its continental shelf off-shore Cyprus and the South says that this is an incursion into its own EEZ, the Greek Cypriot leader of the Assembly, Yiannakis Omirou has sent a letter of protest to the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz.
This was prompted by Turkey’s action to send a Note Verbale to the UN Secretary General with regard to the agreement on the delineation of a continental shelf between Turkey and North Cyprus, ‘Famagusta Gazette’ reports.
Omirou’s letter states that this move by Turkey constitutes one of a series of illegal and provocative actions by Ankara against the Republic of Cyprus, which affects the ongoing negotiations to solve the Cyprus problem.
According to an official press release, Omirou emphasised that this action, which is equivalent to a “concession” by the “illegal occupation regime of part of Cyprus” Exclusive Economic Zone to Turkey, is another violation of international law, especially European law, part of which is the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea of 1982.
The fact that Turkey has taken such action while the Cyprus talks are in progress, and while the Turkish seismographic vessel ‘Barbaros Hayreddin Pasha’ continues undisturbed illegal activities in parts of Cyprus EEZ, is indicative of the arrogant behaviour of Ankara and of its lack of goodwill to comply with international law and its obligations towards the European Union (EU), to achieve a just, viable and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem, the statement says.
Concluding, Omirou emphasised the need for Turkey to adhere strictly to the EU’s fundamental principles and calls on the President of the European Parliament to exercise his influence, as such illegal and provocative actions cannot be tolerated any longer.
In response to Omirous’ letter, the Turkish Cypriot Foreign Ministry issued a statement regarding the Greek Cypriot government’s reaction against the “Delimitation of Continental Shelf in Mediterranean” agreement which was signed between the TRNC and Turkey, ‘Kibris Postasi’ reports.
The statement said that the Greek Cypriot government’s reaction did not have any other meaning rather than being a unilateral expression of will.
The ministry also urged the Greek Cypriot government to suspend the hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation works until an agreement is reached between the two sides on the framework of exploration, processing and marketing.
Critical of the Greek Cypriot government for continuing to take unilateral steps the Ministry said “Turkish Cypriots also have the equal rights on Island’s natural resources and they have every right to defend their interest. Greek Cypriot government should understand that they don’t have any right to oppose our attempts to defend our rights.”
In the statement it was also mentioned that the “Delimitation of Continental Shelf in Mediterranean” agreement, which was signed on 21st September, 2011 was a step taken in order to defend the rights of Turkish Cypriots which had been disregarded once the Greek Cypriots began drilling work on 19th September, 2011.