“One should not expect that Turkey of 82 million citizens and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus will do nothing when they are drilling for gas. That’s funny it can’t happen. We will defend rights and the rights of the Turkish Cypriots. Let no one test our strength,” Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar warned on Sunday morning.
Mr Akar landed on a Turkish frigate in a helicopter which is escorting Turkish research vessel Yavuz, which is drilling in the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone.
Speaking to officers and sailors of the Turkish frigate sailing off Cyprus, Hulusi Akar referred to the Cypriot issue saying: “As our President has stated, Turkey is a guarantor force. We will not allow our rights to be violated. We’ve done what we had and to it again if we need to.”
Among other things, Mr Akar stated that Turkey has responsibilities and rights as a guarantor power and that they are determined to do what is necessary and that the presence of the Turkish army on the island is necessary.
The Turkish minister said the Turkish army has been in Cyprus since 1974 and that their main purpose was to ensure and maintain the security of the Turkish Cypriots.