Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested Tuesday that stability in the Eastern Mediterranean will only be achieved if the interests in the area of both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots are safeguarded.
Speaking at the 11th Ambassadors’ Conference in Ankara Tuesday, Erdogan reportedly said the “stability of the Eastern Mediterranean is significant for the security of the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.”
“Stability in Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean can only be achieved if care is given to the rights of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (Turkish-occupied Cyprus),” he added, in what was seen in Greece as another indication of the mind-set currently prevailing in Ankara. The breakway state in northern Cyprus is recognized only by Ankara.
A day earlier at the same conference, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also referred to his country’s interests in the Eastern Mediterranean and presented a map showing Turkey’s exclusive economic zone stretching from south of the southeastern Aegean island of Rhodes all the way to the western coast of Cyprus.
Meanwhile Tuesday, Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah reported that the Yavuz drillship has begun operating off the coast of Cyprus, just south of the Karpasia Peninsula. The report coincided with Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez’s visit to the occupied territory in northern Cyprus Tuesday.
At the same time, a second Turkish drillship, the Fatih, is proceeding with its surveying work west of the Akamas Peninsula in western Cyprus. According to reports, there is a higher likelihood that the exploratory activities in the Karpasia region will lead to the discovery of gas deposits, compared to those taking place off the island’s western coast. The paper said that seismic research vessel the Oruc Reis will be sent to the East Mediterranean after completing its current activities in the Sea of Marmara.
The exploratory activities in the East Med, the Daily Sabah said, are taking place under the protection of the Turkish Armed Forces.