Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar reiterated Sunday the hardline stance on drilling inside Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Stance expressed Saturday by the country's foreign ministry.
Akar told Anadolu News Agency that Ankara is determined to protect its rights in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea under international law.
“As a guarantor country, Turkey is determined to always protect the rights of the people of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and not to allow the fait accompli," Akar added.
TRNC, the northern part of Cyprus occupied by Turkey since 1974, is an entity set up in 1983 and recognized only by Turkey, which, in turn, does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, calling it the “Greek Cypriot administration” instead.
On Saturday, in response to the Turkish foreign ministry's statement, Greece's foreign ministry called on Turkey to stop the drilling.
“Akar called on Greece for common sense and cooperation and added that the energy sources in the Aegean Sea and Eastern Mediterranean should serve as a bridge for peace, dialogue and mutual development,” the Anadolu Agency report says.
Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades plans to raise the issue of Turkish drilling in the informal European Council in Sibiu, Romania, on Thursday, May 9.