Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is in cooperation with Turkey in furthering the national interests of the TRNC in the eastern Mediterranean, the country's prime minister said on Sunday.
Speaking at a conference in Turkey's central province of Konya, TRNC Prime Minister Ersin Tatar stressed that it would do its best for the continuation of Turkey’s status as guarantor power on the island.
Tatar underlined that it was "out of question" to remove Turkish guarantor power from the TRNC.
"Turkey’s resolute stance and support in the eastern Mediterranean gives us strength," said Tatar, referring to Turkey's activities in the region.
The Greek side violated international law as well as the rights of Turkish Cypriots by making agreements with other states on searching for resources, he added.
Noting that Turkey has the longest shoreline to the eastern Mediterranean, he said that neither Ankara's rights nor the those of the TRNC -- which stem from international law -- could be ignored.
Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) also has rights to the resources in the area.
Since spring this year, Ankara has sent two drilling vessels -- Fatih and most recently Yavuz -- to the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting the right of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC) to the resources of the region.
Turkey’s first seismic vessel, the Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa, bought from Norway in 2013, has been conducting exploration in the Mediterranean since April 2017.
Athens and Greek Cypriots have opposed the move, threatening to arrest the ships’ crews and enlisting EU leaders to join their criticism.
In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus’ annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, the TRNC was founded.
The decades since then 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.
Reporting by By Melike Kinaci
Writing by Gozde Bayar