Natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean belong to both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, the deputy premier and foreign minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) said in Geneva on Wednesday, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.
“These resources belong to the two societies, in other words, the Turkish Cypriot and the Greek Cypriot joint owners of these resources. This important element cannot be ignored,” Kudret Özersay said at a meeting organized by the Association of Accredited Correspondents at the United Nations (ACANU).
Referring to a suspected Russian missile that fell in the KKTC on Monday, Özersay said this was an exceptional situation and that the KKTC is a safe country.
“We have to find a way to live together on this island. But it is clear from the facts that this is not a federal partnership,” he said.
Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the eastern Mediterranean, asserting that Turkish Cypriots also have rights to the resources in the region and that Ankara has the right to conduct hydrocarbon drilling.
Turkey is abiding by international law amid tensions over gas drilling in the eastern Mediterranean and will not hesitate to take further steps to resolve the issue, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said.
“We are taking the necessary steps within the law, and we will try to continue as such,” Erdoğan told a group of journalists on his plane returning from China late on Tuesday.
“But if we come up against unlawful actions, we know how to speak their language, whatever it is. It is unacceptable that those who have no legal rights there try to profit,” he said.