Cyprus on Saturday refuted Ankara’s arguments against the Maritime Spatial plan, calling them unfounded.

Government spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis said the views expressed by Turkey “have no grounds for the Republic of Cyprus”.

Ankara on Friday night slammed the plan, aimed at developing the shipping sector, calling it a “greedy” initiative that violated the rights of both Turkey and the ‘TRNC’.

In a statement foreign ministry spokesman Oncu Keceli said the Greek Cypriot’s move appeared to undermine efforts to achieve a solution to the Cyprus problem.

Turkey “has legitimate rights and jurisdiction in the maritime areas to the west of the island of Cyprus, and Turkish Cypriots have legitimate rights in the maritime areas around the island.”

Keceli said Cyprus’ Maritime Spatial Plan is based on a European Union directive and is prepared by all member states.

Earlier this week, the council of ministers announced its plan, describing it as a decisive move that aims for the holistic development of Cyprus’ shipping sector.

Turkey however said this was an attempt by the Greek side to exploit the directive, and use it “as the latest futile effort” to do so.

“The illegitimate and outright greedy initiatives of the Greek Cypriot administration are detached from reality and have no validity and undermine the efforts to achieve a comprehensive, just and sustainable solution to the Cyprus issue,” Keceli said.

He added that Turkey has registered the outer limits of its continental shelf in the Mediterranean to the United Nations as early as 2004 and most recently in 2020.

“Unilateral acts of the Greek Cypriot administration, regarding maritime jurisdiction areas will not be accepted,” he underlined and Turkey’s practices in the field continue within this framework.

The spokesperson added that Ankara expects “the negative repercussions of maritime jurisdiction related issues” to the solution process of the Cyprus problem will not be ignored.

“Instead of trying to create a fait accompli in the region, the Greek Cypriot side should be encouraged to develop cooperation with the TRNC by accepting that the solution to the Cyprus issue can only be possible on the basis of the realities on the island.”

Deputy Minister of Shipping Marina Hadjimanoli explained the primary goal of the Maritime Spatial Plan is to bolster and promote sustainable development at sea, employing an ecosystem-based approach.