Turkey has once again vowed that it would not allow any initiative that ignores its own or the Turkish Cypriots' rights in the Eastern Mediterranean. "We have rights there. Our drilling vessels will continue their search operations and our armed forces will take the necessary steps," President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told his ruling Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) parliamentary group yesterday.
He criticized Greek premier Alexis Tsipras' recent remarks on Turkey's rights in the region.
After an EU meeting in Brussels on June 20, Tsipras said: "I hope the EU sends a clear message to Turkey to stop its illegal activities in [Greek] Cyprus's Exclusive Economic Zone."
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 region and that Ankara has the right to conduct hydrocarbon drilling there.
Erdoğan, who has been a staunch supporter of Turkey's hydrocarbon exploration efforts in the region, has on a number of occasions expressed that his country's primary goal in the region as one of the three guarantor states is to protect its own rights and the rights of Turkish Cypriots.
Commenting on French President Emmanuel Macron's recent comments on the Eastern Mediterranean, Erdoğan said, "France has nothing to say on this issue. Turkey is a guarantor of [Cyprus], Greece is a guarantor and England is a guarantor."
On June 14, Macron called on Turkey to stop "illegal activities in Cyprus's exclusive economic zone." "I want to reiterate my solidarity with Cyprus and my support and respect for its sovereignty. Turkey must stop its illegal activities in Cyprus's exclusive economic zone," Erdoğan said.