Kathimerini Greece Newsroom
Turkey’s ongoing survey and drilling activities off Cyprus aim at protecting the rights of Turkish Cypriots, a foreign ministry spokesman said Thursday, adding that “until these rights are guaranteed, Turkish Petroleum will continue to operate” in the areas licensed by the breakaway state.
“These rights can only be guaranteed either by jointly suspending all off-shore activities in the south of the island until a comprehensive settlement is reached in Cyprus, or by launching a cooperation mechanism by the Greek Cypriots with the Turkish Cypriots in accordance with the 13 July 2019 proposal,” Hami Aksoy said.
“Otherwise, Turkey will continue resolutely to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriots,” said Aksoy, while urging “all the EU members, especially Italy to abandon their attitudes which ignore the very presence of Turkish Cypriots and their rights.”
The foreign ministry spokesman said that a delimitation of maritime jurisdiction areas to the west of Cyprus will only be possible after a solution has been reached over the ethnically-split island.
“It is out of question for Turkey to start maritime boundary delimitation negotiations with an entity that does not represent the Turkish Cypriots,” Aksoy said.
“The only interlocutor of the Greek Cypriots is only the Turkish Cypriots, until the resolution of the Cyprus issue,” he said.
Furthermore, Aksoy said Ankara rejected any criticism of the maritime boundaries deal signed with the Tripoli-based government in Libya. The comment comes after the Italian foreign minister Luigi Di Maio in a phone call with his Turkish counterpart Melvut Cavusoglu stressed Italy’s concern over the presence of Turkish ships conducting unlicensed drilling in the Cyprus EEZ.