Turkey rejects EU statement on drilling in Eastern Med

Turkey on Saturday rejected an EU statement on its plan to do hydrocarbon drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“We reject the statement made today by Ms. Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, regarding our hydrocarbon exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean,” said a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement.

As the country with the longest coastline in the region, Turkey is determined to protect its “own rights and interests within our continental shelf” as well as those of the Turkish Cypriots on the island of Cyprus, said the statement.

Turkey also said its hydrocarbon activities in the Eastern Mediterranean are based on its legitimate rights under international law.

“To date Turkey has not refrained from taking necessary steps in this context, and will not do so in the future,” the statement added.

It explained: “In fact, it is the Greek Cypriot administration which has not abstained from irresponsibly jeopardizing the security and stability of the Eastern Mediterranean region, by disregarding the inalienable rights of the Turkish Cypriots, who are the co-owners of the Cyprus Island, over the natural resources.”

The ministry accused the Greek Cypriot administration of “refusing every proposal of cooperation and insisting on its unilateral activities in the region despite all our warnings.”

On Saturday, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement: “We express grave concern over Turkey’s announced intention to carry out drilling activities within the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus.”

Turkey’s statement also urged that all actors outside the region “acknowledge the fact that Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus [sic] cannot be excluded from the energy equation in the Eastern Mediterranean, and they should stop providing unconditional support to the Greek Cypriot administration [sic].”

“Furthermore, those who have not taken any steps towards the resolution of this issue for years do not have the right to give advice to us,” the statement concluded.

Turkey blames Greek Cypriot intransigence for the failure of peace talks, also faulting the European Union for admitting Cyprus as a divided island into the union in 2004 after Greek Cypriot voters rejected a UN-brokered peace deal.