Turkey’s activities in the Mediterranean Sea are in line with international law, while Ankara's call for dialogue to Athens have gone unanswered, said Turkey's ambassador to Greece on Monday.
Burak Ozugergin made the remarks in a meeting at the Greek Foreign Ministry after the Turkish Petroleum Cooperation (TPAO) applied for a license for additional oil exploration in the Mediterranean, according to diplomatic sources.
At the meeting, he said that Turkey's position is known and transparent on various issues such as Cyprus, the Eastern Mediterranean including hydrocarbon exploration and extraction, Libya, and the whole region, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
Turkey has several times sought dialogue with Greece on these issues, but Athens failed to make any response, he added.
In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus’ annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was founded.
The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the Cyprus dispute, all ending in failure. The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries – Turkey, Greece, and the UK – ended in 2017 in Switzerland.
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 last year, Ankara has sent drilling vessels to the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting the right of Turkey and the TRNC to the resources of the region.
Athens and Greek Cypriots have opposed the move, threatening to arrest the ships’ crews and enlisting EU leaders to join their criticism.
Reporting by Omer Tugrul Cam
Writing by Seda Sevencan