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Cavusoglu: Turkey will protect its drillships by any means necessary

The Turkish drillship Fatih

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Saturday his country does not wish conflict with anyone but would protect its vessels in the eastern Mediterranean by any means necessary if it came to it.

In response to a question from the press after his speech at an event organised by the Italian Institute for International Political Studies in Rome on whether Turkey would use force as regards its activities in the eastern Mediterranean, he said his country was the guarantor of the Turkish Cypriots.

“We have done everything to find a solution, the Greek Cypriot side does not want an agreement,” he said.

He reiterated his country’s position on unilateral activities by Greek Cypriots for hydrocarbons exploration and that the proceeds needed to be shared through a joint committee.

“We promoted this to the Greek Cypriots, Greece, the EU, the UN, everyone, but they don’t want cooperation hence I will send in my ships,” he said.

He said that Turkey does not want to engage in conflict with anyone but would take all measures, whatever they may be, to protect her vessels.

Two Turkish drilling vessels are currently operating in the Cypriot exclusive economic zone (EEZ), in areas Turkey claims are part of her continental shelf.

The Fatih is around 13 nautical miles off the coast of Galinoporni village, in Karpasia and is expected to remain in the area carry out drilling in a new location in the area. The is off the southwest coast of Cyprus, in block 7, which the Republic of Cyprus has licensed for gas exploration to French-Italian energy consortium Total-ENI, in early October. It is expected to remain there until January 20.

Following the announcement by Turkey late last month that she has signed an agreement with Libya on the delimitation of their EEZs the Cypriot government said it has sought legal recourse against Turkey at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague over her claims in Cyprus’ EEZ/continental shelf.

The case was filed unilaterally, and while the government admits that without Turkey giving her consent, the case cannot proceed, Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Christodoulides on Friday called on Turkey to accept Cyprus’ invitation to settle their differences at the ICJ.

Since Turkey is constantly declaring their actions are based on international law, he said, she should seize the opportunity to solve differences with Cyprus in court.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Saturday that the agreement with Libya was sent by the UN after parliament approved it earlier in the week.

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