Turkey to continue gas drilling work around Cyprus

By Diyar Guldogan

ANKARA (AA) – Ankara will continue natural gas drilling work around Cyprus island with an aim to share resources fairly, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday.

"Turkey will not allow unilateral activities [in the Eastern Mediterranean]. We need to protect the rights of Turkish Cypriots with actual steps," Cavusoglu said at a symposium entitled "Law and Politics in the Eastern Mediterranean" in the Ankara University.

Turkey on many occasions has contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling activity for gas in the Eastern Mediterranean, saying Turkish Cypriots also have rights to the resources around the area.

"We will continue drilling activities around the island. We are not trying to fight with anyone. Our aim is fair sharing of resources. However, everyone should know that we will not let the rights of Turkey, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and Turkish Cypriots be violated in the Eastern Mediterranean," he added.

Cyprus was divided into a Turkish Cypriot state in the north and a Greek Cypriot administration in the south after 1974 military coup was followed by violence against the island’s Turkish people, and Turkey’s intervention as a guarantor power.

In 2017, after two years of negotiations, the latest attempt to reunify the long-divided Mediterranean island ended in failure.

Cavusoglu said Ankara has made efforts to find solution to Cyprus issue for many years.

He added it “does not make sense for Turkey to sit down again just to re-start Cyprus talks.” saying: "Results are needed."

Also addressing the symposium, Kudret Ozersay, TRNC’s deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, said TRNC desires to turn Cyprus into an energy and electricity hub.