Turkish Cypriots’ rights should be secured: FM Çavuşoğlu
The European Union and United Nations should take steps towards securing the rights of Turkish Cypriots concerning the drilling activities in eastern Mediterranean, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on July 12.
“We are still at the same point. [In the eastern Mediterranean] the EU and U.N. should secure the rights of Turkish Cypriots with a commission or a mechanism, within the scope of suggestions made by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus [TRNC],” Çavuşoğlu said at a joint press conference with his Swiss counterpart Ignazio Cassis, in the capital Ankara.
He also underlined that if the EU would take steps towards Turkey, “to appease” the Greek Cypriots, Turkey will retaliate.
“The steps the EU would take towards us will be useful, it will backfire. We will take additional steps and no one can prevent this,” he said.
“We will increase our activities in Cyprus, without any hesitation. We will do anything to protect the rights of the Turkish Republic and the TRNC,” he added.
Çavuşoğlu also stressed that Greek Cypriots have been violating the rights of Turkish Cypriots by proceeding its drilling activities without ensuring the latter’s share.
Turkey, on the other hand, started its drilling activities as a guarantor country, when its warnings towards the Greek Cypriots, the EU and the U.N. yielded no results.
“Turkey is always for a permanent and peaceful solution on Cyprus,” he said.
“The EU should not back these wrongdoings in the name of a so-called solidarity approach,” the top diplomat said.
Çavuşoğlu also thanked his Swiss counterpart for always hosting negotiations on the Cyprus issue.
“Turkey is always for a permanent and peaceful solution in Cyprus,” the foreign minister reiterated.
European Council Donald Tusk on July 10 said tensions with Turkey regarding drilling activities in eastern Mediterranean will lead to the EU’s solidarity with Greek Cypriots.
“Despite our best intentions to keep good neighborly relations with Turkey, its continued escalation and challenge to the sovereignty of our Member State Cyprus will inevitably lead the EU to respond in full solidarity as agreed by #EUCO,” Tusk tweeted.
Since last spring, Ankara has sent two drilling vessels to eastern Mediterranean, asserting the right of Turkey and Turkish Cyprus to the resources of the region.
The Turkish-flagged drillship Fatih began offshore drilling operations last May in an area approximately 75 kilometers (42 nautical miles) off Cyprus’ western coast.
Athens and Greek Cypriots both opposed the move, threatening to arrest the ships’ crews and enlisting EU leaders to join their criticism.
Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the eastern Mediterranean, asserting that Turkish Cyprus also has rights to the resources in the area.