Turkey rejects the statement by EU’s High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini calling on Turkey “to show restraint, respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus in its exclusive economic zone and refrain from any such illegal action to which the European Union will respond appropriately and in full solidarity with Cyprus.”
In a statement, Turkey’s foreign ministry insists that it has “legitimate rights stemming from international law” to engage in hydrocarbon exploration activities and accuses the “Greek Cypriot Administration” of “irresponsibly jeopardizing” the area’s security and stability.
Turkey, which invaded Cyprus in 1974 following a Greek-led coup, does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, but does recognize the Turkish-occupied north as the “Turkish Republic of North Cyprus” since 1983, the only country to do so.
Here’s the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s statement, in full:
“We reject the statement made today (4 May 2019) by Ms. Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, regarding our hydrocarbon exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey’s hydrocarbon related activities in the Eastern Mediterranean region are based on its legitimate rights stemming from international law. As we previously stressed on many occasions, having the longest coastal line in the region, we will protect our own rights and interests within our continental shelf, as well as those of the Turkish Cypriots around the Cyprus Island. To date Turkey has not refrained from taking the necessary steps in this context, and will not do so in the future.
In fact, it is the Greek Cypriot Administration which has not abstained from irresponsibly jeopardizing the security and stability of the Eastern Mediterranean region, by disregarding the inalienable rights of the Turkish Cypriots, who are the co-owners of the Cyprus Island, on the natural resources, refusing every proposal of cooperation and insisting on its unilateral activities in the region despite all our warnings.
It will be a reasonable approach and will prevent further instability in the region, that all other actors outside the region acknowledge the fact that Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus cannot be excluded from the energy equation in the Eastern Mediterranean, and they should stop providing unconditional support to the Greek Cypriot Administration.
Furthermore, those who have not taken any steps towards the resolution of this issue for years do not have the right to give advice to us.”