Spokesperson of the Turkish Foreign Ministry Hami Aksoy referring to the statement made by Italy and the Greek Cypriot Administration on the activities of Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean, pointed out that the ongoing research and drilling activities of the TPAO will continue until the rights of Turkish Cypriots are guaranteed.
Aksoy said in his written statement: ‘We consider the statement made on 29 January unfortunate, especially on the part of Italy. As we have repeatedly emphasised, the Turkish Cypriots, as the co-owners of the Island, have equal rights on the hydrocarbon resources of the Island. Based on these rights, the TRNC Government granted exploration and exploitation licences to Turkish Petroleum (TP) in 2011. TP’s ongoing survey and drilling activities in these licenced areas aim at protecting the rights of the Turkish Cypriots, not Turkey. Until these rights are guaranteed, the TP will continue to operate in these licenced areas.
These rights can only be guaranteed either by jointly suspending all off-shore activities in the south of the Island until a comprehensive settlement is reached in Cyprus, or by launching a cooperation mechanism by the Greek Cypriots with the Turkish Cypriots in accordance with the 13 July 2019 proposal. Otherwise, Turkey will continue resolutely to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriots. Therefore, once again, we call on all the EU members, especially Italy to abandon their attitudes which ignore the very presence of Turkish Cypriots and their rights.
As we have also repeatedly stated in the past, the delimitation of maritime jurisdiction areas to the West of the Island of Cyprus will only be possible after the resolution of the Cyprus issue. It is out of question for Turkey to start maritime boundary delimitation negotiations with an entity that does not represent the Turkish Cypriots and has usurped the title of the “Republic of Cyprus” since 1963. The only interlocutor of the Greek Cypriots is the Turkish Cypriots only, until the resolution of the Cyprus issue.
We also entirely reject the criticisms against the memorandum of understanding that we signed with Libya on the delimitation of maritime jurisdiction areas. In this context, it is worth mentioning the fact that Italy and other EU member states had remained silent to the delimitation agreement concluded between GCA and Egypt in 2003, which indeed indicates the inconsistency and contrariety of their current policies in the Eastern Mediterranean.
We will resolutely continue to protect the rights of Turkey and of the Turkish Cypriots in the Eastern Mediterranean.”
Source: TRNC Public Information Office