Turkish President Erdogan Urges NATO to Support Ankara in Drilling Dispute off Cyprus



Speaking at NATO’s ”North Atlantic Council Mediterranean Dialogue Meeting” held in Ankara on Monday, President Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey expects NATO to support its rights in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Erdogan’s remarks came only a few hours after a strong statement was issued by the country’s Foreign Ministry, following warnings from Washington and Brussels to Ankara regarding the issue of natural gas and oil drilling off the coast of Cyprus.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry had issued a statement earlier on Monday in which it accused the US State Department of behavior which is ”neither constructive nor compatible with international law” regarding the issue of Ankara’s drilling off the coast of Cyprus.

Ankara notes in the statement that ”Turkey has made its position explicitly clear regarding its continental shelf in the Eastern Mediterranean since 2004,” adding that ”the Greek Cypriot Administration’s EEZ delimitation agreements with the countries in the region are not valid for Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots, and one of these agreements violates Turkey’s continental shelf rights.”

”Greek Cypriot Administration” is the term Turkey uses to describe the Republic of Cyprus.

Using an aggressive tone against Washington, the statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry declares that ”the attempts of the third parties to act as an international court in determining maritime boundaries is unacceptable.”

The announcement continues by saying that ”The statement of the US calling Turkey by expressing that ‘there exists Greek Cypriot claims over the area’ is neither constructive nor compatible with international law.”

Turkey repeated its intention to continue its natural gas and oil drilling in the region, saying that ”our drilling and seismic vessels will resolutely continue their activities in our continental shelf in the areas where our Government granted the Turkish Petroleum licenses in 2009 and 2012.”