President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday reiterated the rights of Turkish Cypriots over matters related to drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean.
"Our Turkish kin in Northern Cyprus are entitled to the same rights as the people in southern Cyprus, especially on matters such as oil in Eastern Mediterranean,” Erdogan said in Istanbul.
“We are dedicated to protect our Turkish kin in Northern Cyprus especially in the regions exclusively related to economy.
“So our newly-purchased oil drill and exploration ships are in the region […] They are protected by frigates of Turkish Armed Forces.”
In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus’ annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) was founded.
The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the dispute, all ending in failure. The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries -- Turkey, Greece, and the U.K. -- ended in 2017 in Switzerland.
Turkey’s first seismic vessel, the Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa, bought from Norway in 2013, has been doing exploration in the Mediterranean since April 2017.
Reporting by Murat Paksoy, Hanife Sevinc and Berk Ozkan
Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur