By Vassilis Nedos
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu presented a map Monday of Turkey’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) stretching south of the southeastern Aegean island of Rhodes to a few miles west of Paphos on Cyprus’ western coast.
The map ignored the presence of the southeastern Aegean island of Kastellorizo, but it did not reflect the maximalist outlook of the Turkish Defense Ministry and other non-diplomat officials of the neighboring country who have expressed far more aggressive demands.
Speaking during an ambassadors’ conference held by Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara, Cavusoglu called on Greece to form a partnership with Turkey so that both nations can prosper in a win-win situation.
Regarding Cyprus, Cavusoglu struck an intransigent stance, saying that Turkey will not allow any activities on the island that do not include the interest of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots. He added that after the Fatih drillship, the Yavuz has also begun activities off the coast of Cyprus which he said was part of Turkey’s continental shelf.
“The equality and security of the Turkish-Cypriot people are indispensable. On this basis, we do not exclude any solution,” he said.
For its part, Greece is preparing for tomorrow’s East Med energy summit in Athens with the participation of US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Francis R. Fannon. The 3+1 summit (Greece, Israel, Cyprus plus the US) aims to serve as a vehicle to further strengthen Washington’s ties with the three countries.
Fannon is already in Athens and will meet Tuesday with Energy Minister Kostas Hatzidakis and Deputy Foreign Minister Costas Frangoyiannis.
The US was also represented at the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum in Cairo last week.
Meanwhile, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades met party leaders Monday at his residence in the Troodos Mountains, ahead of a meeting with Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci on August 9.
Akinci told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) over the weekend that his greatest expectation from the informal meeting with Anastasiades is for tensions to be eliminated and for the ground to be paved for positive developments.
The Turkish-Cypriot leader has said that it is his wish for the meeting to “send positive messages to the people, our communities. But if that is not the case, then I would not want to give people false hope.”