A top Turkish official on Saturday warned against underestimating Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean or violating its rights and those of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
"Those who move against the legitimate rights of Turkey or the TRNC and discount Turkey in the region will not be able to reach their aims," Vice President Fuat Oktay said in Lefkosa, the Turkish Cypriot capital.
Oktay, in Turkish Cyprus for bilateral economic meetings, spoke against a backdrop of Turkey protesting unilateral energy exploration by Greek Cyprus while sending out its own drill ships, whose crews Greek Cyprus has threatened.
Turkey has consistently asserted that Turkish Cypriots also have rights to the resources in the region and that Ankara has the right to do hydrocarbon drilling.
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 (TRNC) 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 U.K. -- ended in 2017 in Switzerland.
Oktay meets with Turkish Cypriot prime minister
"Reforms are extremely important. Businesspeople are waiting for the reforms. There are important initiatives in the government's program," said Oktay during his visit to Ersin Tatar, the Turkish Cypriot prime minister.
He said that their greatest wish is realizing reforms and paving the way for an investors' economy in the country, adding that they believe the new government will succeed in this.
"The island and the whole world are looking at the hydrocarbon resources [issue]," he added, saying that in this process they should take care.
For his part, Tatar said that the TRNC is continuing its development in spite of difficulties and the unjust international embargo.
"We will always have good relations with Turkish governments," he added, referring to Turkish backing of the TRNC.
*Writing by Burak Bir
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