Turkey said on Thursday that the joint declaration adopted at the Fifth Summit of the Southern European Union Countries (Med7) on Tuesday was yet another example of the unfair and unconstructive attitude maintained by certain EU members, in the name of the so-called union solidarity.
In a statement, the Turkish foreign ministry suggested the Republic was abusing its EU membership.
“The commendation in the declaration of the so-called efforts by the Greek Cypriots regarding the settlement process in Cyprus and the expression of support for their unilateral hydrocarbon activities in the Eastern Mediterranean clearly display the continuation of the Greek Cypriot administration’s abuse of its EU membership,” the Turkish ministry said.
It went on to accuse the Greek Cypriot side for the failure of reunification talks in 2017, attributing it to its intransigent mentality and “considering themselves as the sole owner of the island and the Turkish Cypriots as a minority”.
“The fact that in the joint declaration there is no mention of the legitimate rights of the Turkish Cypriots on the natural resources of the island proves the persistence of this distorted mentality,” the Turkish foreign ministry said. “Turkey remains committed to taking the necessary steps to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriots.”
Leaders from France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal and Malta joined President Nicos Anastasiades at the 5th Southern EU Countries Summit, held at the Filoxenia conference centre in the capital on Tuesday.
In the joint declaration they reiterated a call to Turkey to respect the sovereignty of Cyprus and to refrain from threat or actions that are contrary to international law.
Turkish Cypriots have raised opposition to the Republic’s hydrocarbon programme, which they say is a unilateral move, maintaining that any offshore wealth also belongs to them, as partners in the establishment of the Cyprus Republic in 1960.
Turkey too has claims inside the Republic’s exclusive economic zone.
The Cypriot government, however, says that any future benefits of gas finds will eventually be shared by all Cypriots once a settlement solution to the Cyprus problem is achieved.
Last year, Turkish warships stopped a drillship belonging to ENI from approaching an offshore block.
Turkey meanwhile, has been carrying its own drilling in the region.