Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has accused Cyprus and Greece of “provocative attacks” and “irresponsible statements” on the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean.
"It is our sincere expectation that provocative acts and irresponsible statements, which do not help resolve problems in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean- are not allowed,” Hulusi Akar said during Turkey's largest military exercise Sea Wolf Saturday, Turkey's Anadolu Agency reports.
“Our desire and expectation are that the rights and interests of Turkey- which has the longest coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean- and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to be respected. We expect from all the sides to respect these subjects. This is our most natural right,” Akar said.
The “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” recognized only by Turkey, refers to the occupied part of the island, invaded by Turkey in 1974 in response to a Greek-backed coup. Turkey does not recognize the internationally-recognized Republic of Cyprus government, referring to it as the “Greek Cypriot administration.”
CNN Turk reports that Akar said research vessel Barbaros is in the Eastern Mediterranean and “national drilling vessel” Fatih continues drilling for oil and natural gas in what he claimed was Turkey's continental shield west of Cyprus. Both are accompanied by Turkish naval forces vessels.
Fatih is drilling within what Cyprus has declared as its Exclusive Economic Zone.
Regarding recent talks with Greece, Akar said that “inter-delegation talks have been completed in Athens in the direction of the agreement we made with Greek Defense Minister Evangelos Apostolakis. I believe these talks will continue in the future period and think that they will be for the benefit of both countries,” Anadolu Agency quoted him as saying.