Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Ersin Tatar said Tuesday that they will act together with Ankara to protect the political and economic rights of Turkish Cypriots. "We will continue our struggle to protect our rights and interests in cooperation with Turkey," Tatar said in Turkey's southern Mersin province. Stressing that Turkish Cyprus and Turkey have taken significant steps jointly to claim their rights in Eastern Mediterranean, Tatar said they will not allow any attempt to harm ties between the two countries. "We will trust Turkey to the end," he added.
Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration's unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, saying Turkish Cypriots also have rights to the resources in the area. The unilaterally declared exclusive economic zone of the Greek Cypriot administration violates part of Turkey's shelf, particularly in Blocks 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey used its guarantor rights to intervene on the island after a far-right Greek Cypriot military coup sponsored by the military junta then in power in Athens sought to unite the island with Greece. The coup followed a decade of interethnic violence and terrorism targeting Turkish Cypriots, who were forced to live in enclaves when Greek Cypriots unilaterally changed the constitution in 1963 and stripped the island's Turks of their political rights. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), established in 1983 on the northern one-third of the island, is only recognized by Turkey and faces a longstanding embargo in commerce, transportation and culture. Meanwhile, the Greek Cypriot Administration enjoys recognition by the international community as the Republic of Cyprus, established in 1960, which is a member of the EU.