The Turkish Foreign Ministry released a statement labelling the exploration in the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as “unilateral decisions” in a provocative statement released on Sunday. The statement added that Turkey did not recognise these decision made by the “Greek-Cypriot government”, as it characterised the legal government of the Cypriot Republic. The full statement is as follows:
Despite all our warnings, the Greek Cypriot Administration continues its unilateral hydrocarbon-related activities in the Eastern Mediterranean. It does so in disregard of the inalienable rights on natural resources of the Turkish Cypriot people, who are the co-owners of the Island. Within this context, we have most recently observed that there is an intention to commence activities in block number three in the Greek Cypriot Administration’s so-called exclusive economic zone.
Turkey shares the justified concerns of the Turkish Cypriot people on this issue and supports the statement made on 10 February 2018 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. As we have repeatedly emphasized in the past, not only will we continue to protect our own rights and interests in our continental shelf, but we are also determined to take the necessary steps together with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus within the framework of our support to the Turkish Cypriot side. The sole responsibility for any situation that could arise as a consequence falls on the Greek Cypriot side, which, instead of expending efforts towards a just and lasting comprehensive settlement in Cyprus, persists in acting as though it were the sole owner of the Island and in continuing its unilateral hydrocarbon-related activities.
This attitude of the Greek Cypriot side, which does not shy away from irresponsibly jeopardizing the security and stability of the Eastern Mediterranean region, is actually the fundamental reason behind the failure of the Cyprus settlement negotiations to produce an outcome for the past half-century. It will be recalled that during the Conference on Cyprus which convened last year, the Greek Cypriots demonstrated once again their unwillingness to accept a partnership with the Turkish Cypriots on the basis of political equality and that because of this, the Conference closed without a settlement. And as long as the Greek Cypriot Administration continues its unilateral hydrocarbon-related activities, it will remain evident just how far removed the Greek Cypriot side is from perceiving the Turkish Cypriots as their equal partners.
We also make use of this opportunity to strongly emphasize our expectation that companies centred in third countries refrain from supporting, through cooperation with the Greek Cypriot Administration in the area of hydrocarbons, this unconstructive Greek Cypriot attitude which also constitutes a major obstacle to the settlement of the Cyprus issue.