In the latest of a series of provocative statements from Ankara over the prospects for discovering hydrocarbon reserves off Cyprus, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said that Turkey is as determined to protect the rights of Turkish Cypriots as it was in 1974, referring to the date that Turkish troops invaded the island, which has been divided since then.
"We have a clear stance as regards the fair distribution of reserves in the eastern Mediterranean," he said. "We have today the same decisiveness that we had in 1974 when we protected the rights of our brothers," he said. "As a guarantor country we will continue to protect our rights and those of our Turkish Cypriot brothers within the framework of international law," Akar said.
He added that his words should be viewed as a warning that Ankara will not allow any faits accomplis and will protect its rights.
As for efforts to relaunch peace talks on the island, Akar said that Ankara supported "a permanent and comprehensive solution." "We believe that is the only way to secure peace, calm and stability on the island."