Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs writes letter to EU in which he claims drilling off the coast of Cyprus is Turkey's "sovereign right"
Turkish leaders claim that drilling on oil reserves off the coast of Cyprus is a "sovereign right" of Turkey, say Turkish-Cypriot press releases.
According to the reports, Turkey's Minister for Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cabusoglu sent a letter to the EU Chief of Foreign Policy as a retort to a recent statement in which the EU declared the right of Cyprus to the reserves in question.
"We urgently call on Turkey to show restraint, respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus in its exclusive economic zone and refrain from any such illegal action to which the European Union will respond appropriately and in full solidarity with Cyprus," said the statement.
The operations, says Cabusoglu, are "located 75 kilometres off the west coast of the Island of Cyprus and the drilling area has nothing to do with any of the Greek Cypriots’ so-called license areas."
EU member state the Republic of Cyprus is not recognised by the Turkish government, who are the only country to recognise the state as the TRNC (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus).
In his letter, Cabusoglu allegedly accused "third parties" of taking sides in "overlapping maritime boundary claims" and claimed that doing so is in breach of international law.
“Turkey should not be expected to sit idly and condone the ongoing violation of its rights and those of the Turkish Cypriots” says Cavusoglu.
The minister's position is backed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who claims "even if some circles still consider... the eastern Mediterranean a matter of the Cypriots, we know very well that the essence of the issue is not so."