Turkey to continue gas drilling work around Cyprus

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Turkey will not allow violation of Turkish Cypriots’ rights in Eastern Mediterranean

Turkey to continue gas drilling work around Cyprus

Ankara will continue natural gas drilling work around the island of Cyprus towards the aim of sharing resources fairly, Turkey's foreign minister 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," Mevlut Cavusoglu said at an Ankara University symposium entitled "Law and Politics in the Eastern Mediterranean."

Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling activity 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're not trying to fight with anyone. Our aim is a fair sharing of resources. However, everyone should know that we will not let the rights of Turkey, the 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 a 1974 military coup was followed by violence against the island’s Turks, 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 solutions to the Cyprus issue for many years.

He added that it “makes no sense for Turkey to sit down again just to re-start Cyprus talks,” adding: "Results are needed."