Parliament supports government’s gas drilling activities in east Med Sea
Four political parties in the Turkish Parliament issued a joint response to the European Union’s decision to halt high-level talks and curb funding to Ankara over its drilling activities for hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, pledging support to the government for its natural gas operations.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), opposition İYİ (Good) Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) issued a joint statement vowing to stand against actions that will “undermine the rights of Turkish Cypriots and Turkey” regarding the sharing of the natural gas in the region.
“We strongly curse all attempts of a fait accompli, ignoring the legitimate rights and interests of Turkish Cypriots and the Turkish Republic based on international law. We are displaying that in any case and condition, we oppose the policies of the circles conducting policies in this direction,” said the declaration.
The statement stood against the EU sanctions against Turkey and said, “We invite the EU to take a fair, equitable and impartial stance on this issue by international law.”
“All the processes and activities carried out by international oil companies, which the Greek Cypriot side unlawfully engages in for unilateral hydrocarbon activities, and the countries that support the Greek Cypriot side in this regard, are contradicting international law,” said the declaration.
“In this sense, we find it right and appropriate for our state to continue the exploration of hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean,” said the statement.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) abstained from signing the declaration. HDP group Deputy Chair Hakkı Saruhan Oluç said they are in favor of a suspension of the entire hydrocarbon exploring and drilling activities of all sides in the region until Turkish and Greek Cypriots agree on a political settlement.
Turkey’s two drilling ships, Yavuz and Fatih, have recently been dispatched to the region with the support of the Turkish Navy. Turkey’s first seismic vessel has been exploring the Mediterranean since April 2017.
Following a decision by the European Council to impose sanctions on Ankara over it is drilling activities in the east Mediterranean, Ankara announced that Turkey will send the fourth ship to that part of the sea as part of its hydrocarbon drilling activities.
Turkish Cyprus and Turkey have consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the eastern Mediterranean, saying Turkish Cypriots also have rights to resources in the area.
In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus’ annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the Cyprus dispute — all failing. The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries — Turkey, Greece, and the United Kingdom — ended in 2017 in Switzerland.