The Turkish Cypriot leadership’s offer to the Greek Cypriot government to collaborate on hydrocarbons is still on the table but being ignored, a press release from the Turkish Cypriot ‘presidency’ office said on Monday.
The Greek Cypriot side is infringing on the rights of Turkish Cypriots and Turkey when it comes to hydrocarbon exploration, the statement said, adding that the north is determined to protect its “legal rights and interests in the eastern Mediterranean”.
“The Turkish Cypriot side has as many rights as the Greek Cypriot side in the exploration, extraction and exploitation of natural resources” in the area, it added.
The statement reminded that according to the deal with Turkey allowing Turkish petroleum (TPAO) to explore specific blocks, seismological surveys have been carried out in an area of 1,000 kilometres, as well as three drillings.
“We are hoping that TPAO’s exploration has positive outcomes for us as soon as possible.”
The statement added that as long as the Greek Cypriot side continues its “unilateral actions” regarding hydrocarbons, the Turkish Cypriots will continue with their own “because of our sovereign equality and equal status”.
“However, we remain open to diplomacy,” it said. “Our 2019 offer for cooperation is on the table, and we fully support Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s proposal for a comprehensive conference on the Eastern Mediterranean.”
It went on to accuse the Greek Cypriot leadership of ignoring these proposals, continuing with provocative actions that mount tension.
“Just last weekend, they attempted to violate Turkey’s continental shelf with research vessel Nautical Geo, using the EastMed pipeline project as an excuse,” it said.
The statement also claimed that the project, “which lost US support and whose economic sustainability has not been examined, has clear political motivations to exclude us and Turkey”.
Finally it calls on the Greek Cypriot leadership to stop its provocative actions and reasonably re-evaluate the Turkish Cypriot side’s proposal for cooperation.