Turkey rejects French remarks on Mediterranean drilling
“We reject the statement made today (7 May) by French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, which refers to Turkey’s drilling activities in its own continental shelf in the Eastern Mediterranean,” said a Foreign Ministry statement.
“In this respect, our press releases dated 4 May 2019, No: 124 and dated 6 May 2019, No: 128 are valid for France as well,” the ministry added referring two previous press statements against similar comments from the U.S. and EU.
On May 6, Turkey condemned a Washington statement on Turkey’s drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean continental shelf.
“Turkey has made its position explicitly clear regarding its continental shelf in the Eastern Mediterranean since 2004,” Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“Since then, we have brought to the attention of relevant countries and the international community that the Greek Cypriot Administration’s EEZ delimitation agreements with the countries in the region are not valid for Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots and one of these agreements violates Turkey’s continental shelf rights,” the statement added.
The ministry on May 4 also rejected another statement made by Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, regarding Turkey’s hydrocarbon exploration activities in the area.
As the country with the longest coastline in the region, Turkey is determined to protect its “own rights and interests within our continental shelf” as well as those of the Turkish Cypriots on the island of Cyprus, it said in a statement.
Turkey also said its hydrocarbon activities in the Eastern Mediterranean are based on its legitimate rights under international law.
Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Ministry also issued a written statement on May 7 regarding the issue. It said that country’s energy policy, which attaches importance to both Turkey’s and Europe’s energy supply security, should be viewed as a benefit to all.
“Turkey knows that natural resources can play an important role in increasing peace and stability,” its statement read.
“Our country advocates the role of energy as a source of peace rather than as a source of conflict,” it noted.
According to the statement, “Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus can’t be excluded from the energy equation in the region.”
Turkey, as one of the guarantor power on the island of Cyprus, along with Greece and the U.K. has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean while asserting that Turkish Cypriots also have rights to the resources in the area.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island’s Turks and Ankara’s intervention as a guarantor power.
The island has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including the collapse of a 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of the guarantor countries.