The Eastern Mediterranean is a critical area of interest for Turkey, according to a top Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) official.
The region is geopolitically and geostrategically important for Turkey, TRNC Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay said Wednesday.
Speaking at a seminar at the University of Kyrenia's Maritime Studies Faculty in the TRNC coastal city of Girne, Özersay said, "Everyone accepts that Turkish Cypriots also have a right in this region," adding that they are "actors to be addressed to."
Turkey, as a guarantor nation for the TRNC, is currently carrying out hydrocarbon exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean with two drilling vessels, the Fatih and Yavuz, along with the Oruc Reis and Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa seismic vessels.
Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration's unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the TRNC also has rights to the resources in the area.
In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus' annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, the TRNC was founded.
The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the Cyprus dispute, all ending in failure. The latest, held with the participation of the guarantor countries, Turkey, Greece and the U.K., ended without any progress in Switzerland in 2017.