The drilling activities in Eastern Mediterranean Sea region will continue and legal and political measures were taken with the relevant ministries for preventing third party interference that ignores Turkey's international sovereignty, the Turkish energy and natural resources minister said on Tuesday.
Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez said in a statement that Turkey will not allow any violations of the rights of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Cypriot Turks.
'We will continue our efforts to achieve regional peace by distributing the riches of Cyprus Island and the Mediterranean in a fair manner,' Donmez said and added 'Our extensive and long-term exploration and drilling activities in the region will resume as planned without making concessions to our legitimate rights on license areas.'
'The drillship Yavuz will also begin its operations in the region when the preparations are completed,' the minister said.
Donmez said that the Greek Cypriot administration's attitude lacks legal ground. 'Our activities in licensed and legal areas will continue without any delay despite the statements of the Greek Cypriots and the threats of so-called arrest warrants for our drilling ship Fatih's crew.'
'Turkey never surrenders to any threats and it never will,' Donmez concluded.
- Turkey’s rights in Eastern Mediterranean
The Turkish-flagged drillship Fatih launched its offshore drilling operations on May 3 in an area located 75 kilometers (42 nautical miles) off the western coast of the Cyprus island. The area falls entirely within the Turkish continental shelf registered with the UN and in permit licenses that the Turkish government in previous years granted to Turkish Petroleum, the country's national oil company.
Turkey wants to see energy as an incentive for political resolution on the island and peace in the wider Mediterranean basin, rather than a catalyst for further tensions.
On Monday, the Greek Cypriot administration, reportedly, issued arrest warrants for crew members of the drillship Fatih and officials of companies cooperating with the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO).
By Gokce Kucuk