Ankara will continue standing by Turkish Cypriots

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ISTANBUL
Published 10.09.2019 00:17

"Turkey will continue standing by Turkish Cypriots without hesitation and without compromising anything," the top Turkish diplomat said on Sunday.

During his meeting with Turkish Cypriot citizens in the Yeni Erenköy region of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu stressed that a solution for the Cyprus issue couldn't be found for 60 years as Greek Cypriots "don't know how to share," adding that Turkish Cypriots and Turkey continue to seek a solution.

"As Turkey, we will continue to increase our utmost contribution to strengthen the economy of the TRNC," he added.

The island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup took place after decades of violence against the island's Turkish community and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor power. It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including the latest initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and the U.K. that collapsed in 2017.

Regarding the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, Çavuşoğlu underlined that no one can interfere with Turkey's activities in the region.

Çavuşoğlu reiterated that the Turkish Cypriot side had proposed establishing a "participative, fair and solution-oriented" joint committee with the Greek Cypriot side, adding that the Greek administration rejected it.

"We want to warn them from here that no one, whether it's the EU, Greece or whoever backs you, cannot and will not interfere with our activities here. What you have to do here is to learn to share," he said.

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 Blocks 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7.

The country's first seismic vessel, the Barbaros Hayrettin, bought from Norway in 2013, has been carrying out exploration in the Mediterranean since April 2017.

The Turkish-flagged drillship Fatih launched its offshore drilling operations on May 3 in an area located 75 kilometers off the western coast of Cyprus. The area falls entirely within the Turkish continental shelf registered with the U.N. and in permit licenses that the Turkish government in previous years granted to Turkish Petroleum, the country's national oil company. The second drillship Yavuz, a twin vessel of the Fatih, is located to the west of the island off Karpas.

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