Turkey is always ready to resolve the Eastern Mediterranean issue through dialogue on an equitable basis, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday.
Erdogan was addressing his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s 19th foundation anniversary in the capital Ankara.
“The solution in the Eastern Mediterranean is through dialogue and negotiations. If acted with common sense, a formula that protects the rights of all can be found,” he said.
“The Greek Cypriot administration, Greece – not Turkey – is increasing tensions in Mediterranean by ignoring Turkey and Turkish Cypriots. Greece is trying to extort the rights of Turkish Cypriots over hydrocarbon sources in the region. No one should ever magnify themselves. I am saying it directly, there is no need to show off.”
He also stressed that Turkey will not let any country violate its rights in the region.
As part of the country’s hydrocarbon surveying activities Turkey issued a NAVTEX on August 10 announcing that its oil drilling vessel Oruc Reis would begin conducting fresh seismic research in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey’s decision came following a controversial delimitation deal signed between Greece and Egypt, only a day after Turkey said it would postpone its activities in the region as a sign of goodwill after mediation efforts from Germany.
But after declaring the deal “null and void,” Turkey authorised the Oruc Reis to continue its activities in an area that is within Turkey’s continental shelf.
The ship will continue seismic activities in the Eastern Mediterranean along with the Cengiz Han and Ataman vessels until August 23.
Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus also has rights to the resources in the area.
Turkey’s decision to announce new exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean raised tensions with Greece on Monday as Athens responded with its own notice and by placing its navy on alert.
(Source: Reuters London)