Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Monday said Greek Cypriots should “learn sharing” in the eastern Mediterranean, referring to the search for natural resources off Cyprus, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.
Despite the fact that the European Union and Greek Cyprus consider it illegal, Turkey sent drilling ships to the coast of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), which was established in 1983 after Ankara’s occupation of the northern part of the island.
The KKTC is recognized only by Turkey.
During his meeting with Turkish Cypriots in the Yeni Erenköy region of the KKTC, Çavuşoğlu said nobody can interfere in Turkey’s activities in the eastern Mediterranean.
He said Turkey would continue to stand by the Turkish Cypriot people “without any hesitation or compromise.”
Çavuşoğlu reiterated that the Turkish Cypriots had proposed establishing a “participative, fair and solution-oriented” joint committee with the Greek Cypriots, adding that the Greek administration had rejected it.
“We want to warn you that no one, whether the EU, Greece or whoever backs you, cannot and will not interfere in our activities here. What you have to do here is to learn to share,” Çavuşoğlu said.
Since spring of this year, Ankara has sent two drilling vessels — Fatih and Yavuz — to the eastern Mediterranean, asserting the right of Turkey and the KKTC to the resources of the region.
Turkey’s first seismic vessel, the Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa, bought from Norway in 2013, has been conducting exploration in the Mediterranean since April 2017.