Four Turkish political parties in the parliament issued a joint declaration of support for Turkey's gas exploration efforts in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The declaration jointly signed by the group deputy chairpersons of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Good Party (IP).
"We, as the political parties represented at the Turkish Grand National Assembly, hereby underscore our objection to any fait accompli policy regarding the share of hydrocarbon resources in the Eastern Mediterranean," the statement read.
"It must be known that Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have the capacity to protect their legitimate rights provided by international law, without submitting to any sort of pressure."
Turkey'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 on the west of the island off Karpas.
Turkey's continental shelf rights lay in the area to the west of 32 degrees 16 minutes 18 seconds east longitude. The outer limits of the Turkish continental shelf in the above-mentioned maritime areas follow the median line between the Turkish and Egyptian coastlines to a point to be determined in the west of 28 degrees 00 minutes 00 seconds east longitude.
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.
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.
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