Ankara says E Med Gas Forum 'far from reality'
The Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum, in which Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have been left out, is an unrealistic formation, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Jan. 16.
"If the purpose of this forum was really cooperation, of course, Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots would be invited to the forum as well," spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement.
Aksoy stressed that the forum -- established by some countries with political motives -- is dreaming of leaving Turkey out of the energy equation in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The member countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum convened in Cairo on Jan. 17 in order to turn the forum into an international organization by signing an establishment charter.
Such organizations that were established in opposition to Turkey and Cyprus will not contribute to peace and cooperation in the region, he said.
"No initiatives that leave Turkey and Cyprus out of them will succeed in the Eastern Mediterranean. Therefore, this initiative provides new evidence that countries that have left unanswered our calls for dialogue and cooperation are still pursuing vain hope," he said.
"We will continue to preserve the legitimate rights and interests of both Turkey and the TRNC."
On Jan. 2, the Turkish parliament ratified a motion authorizing the government to send troops to Libya following deals on military cooperation and maritime boundaries in the Eastern Mediterranean that were struck on Nov. 27 between Ankara and Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).
The agreements were a response to attempts to sideline Turkey and the TRNC in the Eastern Mediterranean, the ministry said, adding the unrealistic arguments put forth during a meeting earlier this month between Greece, France, the Greek Cypriot administration, Egypt and Italy against the maritime delimitation deal between Turkey and Libya revealed the merit of Turkey's steps in the region.
It further underlined that Ankara had a say in projects that involved it as it possesses the longest coastline in the Mediterranean and that it was prepared to cooperate with all countries in the region except the Greek Cypriot administration.
Turkey is a guarantor nation for the TRNC and 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 aimed at the annexation of Cyprus 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. -- came to an end without any progress in 2017 in Switzerland.