Turkish Foreign Minister Melvut Cavusoglu said that Turkish vessel “Barbaros” will continue its seismic research inside Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), despite protests from the Cypriot side.
The Turkish Minister spoke to Greek newspaper “Kathimerini,” ahead of the Greek-Turkish High Level Cooperation Council today in Athens. The Cyprus EEZ is high on the agenda of negotiations between Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu.
Cyprus has already licensed international energy companies to drill for natural gas and hydrocarbons in its EEZ. However, over a month ago, “Barbaros” has entered the zone, accompanied by a Turkish warship. Turkey claims that the Turkish-occupied north part of Cyprus has equal rights to explore and exploit in the waters off the island.
“Whenever the unilateral drilling activities will stop, we will withdraw ‘Barbaros’,” Cavusoglu said.
At the same time, the Turkish Foreign Minister added that he is “very happy to see the more active involvement of Greece as motherland and guarantor of power” in Cyprus, following the suspension of negotiations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
The violation of Cyprus’ EEZ is hindering peace talks between Greece, Turkey and Cyprus. Nevertheless, Cavusoglu said that he is optimistic that the talks between the Greek and Turkish Premiers in Athens will come to lead to a mutually beneficial solution.
“We worked hard to prepare this important meeting in Athens. It will be substantive but also a very symbolic meeting for us,” Cavusoglu noted. “We will discuss many issues. Bilateral issues, regional issues, as well as the Cyprus problem.”