Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has reportedly reiterated Ankara’s rejection of calls by Cyprus and Greece for a scrapping of the system of guarantees that were established when the island gained independence from Britain in 1960.
In translated comments published in the Greek media on Friday, Akar reportedly said on Thursday that the effort to get rid of Turkish guarantees was “futile.”
Greece and Britain were also designated as as guarantor powers of Cyprus.
Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 and occupied its northern part and claims it has rights to the island’s hydrocarbon reserves.
With regard to its drilling activities off the coast of Cyprus, Akar said that Turkey has showed in the last 10 years that it is determined to proceed with its plans in the eastern Mediterranean.
He added that those who object to its actions would benefit from understanding this as soon as possible. He also, reportedly, warned that Turkey and its armed forces are ready to do “what is necessary” to protect the rights of Turkish Cypriots.
“The Turkish Armed Forces like 45 years ago when they carried out the 'peace operation' (1974 invasion) are close to the Turkish Cypriots and are determined to defend their rights and interests.”