Turkey Proposes Halt to All Drilling Activities on Cyprus Until Island’s Reunification



Responding to Italy’s recent remarks that the EU should sanction Turkey for its behavior inside Cyprus’ maritime borders, the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a long statement on Thursday which basically asked Cyprus to stop its drilling activities.

‘We consider the statement made yesterday (January 29) unfortunate especially on the part of Italy,” the statement out of Ankara said.

”As we have repeatedly emphasized, the Turkish Cypriots, as the co-owners of the Island have equal rights on the hydrocarbon resources of the Island. … These rights can only be guaranteed either by jointly suspending all off-shore activities in the south of the Island until a comprehensive settlement is reached in Cyprus, or by launching a cooperation mechanism by the Greek Cypriots with the Turkish Cypriots in accordance with the July 13, 2019 proposal,” the Turkish Ministry said.

”Otherwise, Turkey will continue resolutely to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriots. Therefore, once again, we call on all the EU members, especially Italy, to abandon their attitudes which ignore the very presence of Turkish Cypriots and their rights,” the statement concluded.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry also accused Italy for condemning the illegal maritime-border agreement signed between Ankara and the Tripoli-based government of Libya in December.

It is noted that Italian Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio and his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides on Wednesday made a joint statement saying that the agreement is unacceptable and violates international law and the sovereign rights of other countries.

For this reason, they declared, it does not have any legal power whatsoever.