Turkey will never allow the research vessel Nautical Geo resume its operations off Cyprus and Crete, the country’s defence minister said claiming these areas were under Turkish jurisdiction.
Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar, speaking at the event to mark the new academic year at the Turkish Naval Academy, said Ankara was determined not allow the violation of its rights.
He was referring to the surveys carried out by Nautical Geo off Cyprus and the Greek island of Crete for the EastMed pipeline project, which were interrupted last weekend by Turkish navy ships.
“There are studies to conduct research in the east of Crete and in the southwest of Cyprus, violating our maritime jurisdiction,” Akar said. “We said we would never allow that. The forces of our navy there did what they had to do and did not leave this ship in that area,” he added.
On Monday Turkey announced it sent away the Nautical Geo, that flies the Maltese flag and was carrying out surveys in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone, under the excuse it was violating the Turkish continental shelf.
Akar also said Turkey is not a threat to anyone and that apart from protecting its own rights and laws, it does not seek to violate anyone else’s rights.
“We respect everyone’s borders, rights, laws and sovereignty,” he reportedly said.
Referring to the Cyprus problem, he said that the Greek Cypriots have been ignoring the Turkish presence on the island for many years.
He said there cannot be any solution without the Greek Cypriots acknowledging the Turkish presence something that Turkey would not allow.
Akar referred to Turkey’s position on a two-state solution on the island.