Turkey, Europe

Turkey slams MEP alleging 'illegal' activities in E.Med

EU solidarity cannot trump international law, justify unilateral claims of Greek Cypriots, says Turkey's top EU diplomat

Ali Murat Alhas   | 18.06.2019
Turkey slams MEP alleging 'illegal' activities in E.Med

ANKARA 

Turkey’s top diplomat for EU affairs on Tuesday responded to a center-right European People’s Party (EPP) deputy in the European Parliament over remarks referring to Turkish activities in the Eastern Mediterranean as "illegal”.

Weber said on Twitter: "Turkey cannot be allowed to violate the sovereignty of an EU member state. Turkey must stop any illegal activities within Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone. The people of Cyprus can rely on our support and solidarity."

Weber is the European Commission candidate of the EPP, the largest political group of the European Parliament.

Faruk Kaymakci, Turkey’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Director for EU Affairs, said the European Union was not authorized to determine land, maritime or aerial boundaries of third countries.

"Solidarity of [EU] membership cannot get ahead of international law and justify the unilateral claims of Greek Cypriots," he said.

- Situation in East Mediterranean

The Greek Cypriot administration unilaterally announced 13 so-called parcels in the Eastern Mediterranean as its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and allowed international oil and drilling companies to operate in these areas thought to be rich in hydrocarbon reserves.

However, the majority of these parcels clashes with the EEZ declared by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), with Greek Cypriot administration ignoring the fundamental rights of the TRNC.

The TRNC licensed the Turkish Petroleum Corporation to survey the sea floor in these areas, reacting to attempts by southern Cyprus to claim its surrounding waters despite not representing the entire Island.

Today, Turkey's drilling vessel Fatih is actively carrying out research and drilling activities in the areas where it was licensed by the TRNC. In addition, Turkey's second drilling vessel, Yavuz, is expected to be operational in the region as of July.

Fatih's offshore drilling operations fall entirely in Turkey's continental shelf as registered with the UN and under permits granted by Turkey to the Turkish Petroleum in previous years.

Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the TRNC also has rights to the resources in the area.

In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus's annexation by Greece, Ankara intervened as a guarantor power. In 1983, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was founded.

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