Cyprus Mail

You have to work with Turkey, Cavusoglu says over drillings

File photo: On board the Yavuz

Only Turkey continues drilling in Cyprus, all the others have left because of the pandemic, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Sunday, supporting that it is up to the Greek Cypriot side to reach a compromise with the Turkish Cypriots.

He said if there was an agreement between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots on natural gas, Ankara would reconsider its ‘licensing’ agreement with the north, but would continue drilling southwest of Cyprus.

Speaking to Turkish TV station Attalia DIM TV, he said the Greek Cypriots continue to ignore the rights of the Turkish Cypriots with their one-sided drillings.

“If the Greek Cypriot side had taken into account the proposals of the ‘TRNC’ and had learned to share, these tensions would not have existed,” he said.

In April the Turkish drillship Yavuz arrived in waters to the southwest of the island, the sixth illegal drilling operation by Ankara in Cyprus’ economic waters.

The areas reserved by Turkey fall inside what Ankara claims is its own continental shelf to the south and southwest of the island.

The Turkish minister stressed that Ankara’s priority is always diplomacy. ”Unfortunately, when we said diplomacy, they saw it as a weakness. And we sent our ships, we started our drilling. Now everyone is gone. Who’s there? Only Turkey is there,” he added.“And the message in the countries of the eastern Mediterranean is that Turkey is here. You have to work with Turkey”.

But he said Turkey is as strong at the negotiating table as it is at taking action.

“Turkey has the power to protect both the interests of the Turkish Cypriots and the Turkish state. If the ‘TRNC’ says ‘we agreed and our rights are guaranteed, no more drilling is needed’ then we will reconsider the licensing in the areas given to us by the ‘TRNC’ but again there are the drillings on the continental shelf southwest of Cyprus. That’s where our dominance is. And I do not negotiate sovereign rights with anyone”.

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