Turkey prefers that the problems over the share of natural resources in the Aegean, Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus are conducted through peaceful resolutions, Turkey's defense minister said on Tuesday.
“Our aim, efforts and basic approach are the same in the Aegean, Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus. We are in favor of solving the existing problems through peaceful means,” Hulusi Akar said during inspections at the Blue Homeland military drill that is being conducted in the Black Sea, Aegean Sea, and Mediterranean at the same time.
“In this context, we are in favor of applying basic principles of good neighborly relations,” Akar said.
While acknowledging that the Eastern Mediterranean had gained value thanks to new energy resources found at sea, he said: “We always stress that everyone needs to be aware of provocative activities in order to prevent tensions and conflicts.”
“The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus [TRNC] has rights to natural resources around the island,” Akar said, adding that any decision or deal in the region excluding Turkey would not be valid or lasting, while reiterating that Turkey would not allow a fait accompli in the region.
“Everyone needs to understand and act knowing that the people living in the TRNC have a right to the share of resources in the region," he said.
The natural resources in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean Seas, as well as Cyprus, are considered "strategic goals and national issues" for Turkey.
Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, saying Turkish Cypriots also have rights to the resources in the area.
By Sarp Ozer