Only Turkey decides what it wants to do in its continental shelf”, argues Cavusoglu – Turkey to declare EEZ   

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“Only Turkey decides what it wants to do in its continental shelf”, argues Cavusoglu – Turkey to declare EEZ   

Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Düzen (11.07.19) reports that Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu has alleged that if the European Union (EU) continued taking “wrong steps” on the Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus issues in the name of solidarity, the solution of the problems would not be possible. “If constructive approaches for solving the problem exist, we are here anyway, we are exhibiting flexibility, provided that the Turkish Cypriot people’s rights are safeguarded”, he claimed in statements yesterday in Ankara after a meeting with an Iraqi delegation.

Cavusoglu recalled that former Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu had submitted a proposal in 2011 on the hydrocarbons issue providing for the establishment of a joint committee under the UN, adding that drillings and other activities should have continued within the framework of the work of this joint committee. He said that this proposal was still on the table until today and that it had never been withdrawn. “While we have shared our view with everyone, no institution, the EU, the UN or the guarantor countries which are closely interested in Cyprus and the EU took any step on this issue”, he alleged.

Referring to the Republic of Cyprus’ efforts in the direction of the EU taking measures against Turkey because of its activities in the Eastern Mediterranean contrary to international law, Cavusoglu alleged that the EU’s steps would not be useful and claimed: 

“[…] We are showing flexibility, provided that the Turkish Cypriot people’s rights are safeguarded. A mechanism may be established, a committee may be established. This may be through the EU. It may be through the UN. It may be through the two sides. We are here for everything. Everybody admits that the Turkish Cypriot people have rights here. The Greek Cypriots also admit this. When I asked Anastasiades, he said ‘yes, the Turkish Cypriot people also have rights’. When I asked him ‘very well, then, why do you not safeguard them’, he says ‘I cannot do it now’. When are you going to do it? Is it when you will start selling? When the natural gas is extracted, when its sales start, will you be here? Therefore, we should agree on this issue in the beginning”. 

Cavusoglu alleged that no one except for the guarantor powers in Cyprus had the right to speak here and added that the EU was not a guarantor. “Therefore, if they are going to speak, they should do so in a balanced manner. They should take no one’s side”, he claimed and argued: “We have always kept the EU as observer in the solution of the Cyprus problem. Sometimes we kept it in the room next door. At the Crans Montana we included it in the same room. […] They are exhibiting a stance totally in favor of the Greek Cypriots in the name of solidarity. The EU standards should be taken as basis in solidarity […] We do not think that this solidarity is right. Solidarity is good when it defends what is right and those who are right […]”.

Expressing the view that the EU should seek a midway for finding a solution to the issue by evaluating the Turkish proposal instead of making statements which satisfy the Greek Cypriots, Cavusoglu said that he had discussed the issue with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini and reiterated:

“We are showing every kind of flexibility for a formula which will safeguard the TRNC’s and the Turkish Cypriot people’s rights. If they do not approach this, if they continue favouring the Greek Cypriot side by taking a side in the name of solidarity, they will be committing a mistake. Then we want to say the following: Turkey is determined to protect the TRNC’s and the Turkish Cypriot people’s rights until the end. We will continue taking similar steps from now on. Either these resources will be shared in a fair manner or as Turkey we will continue defending our rights and the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people”.

Asked whether Turkey was examining the issue of declaring an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), Cavusoglu replied that the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence were working on the issue and established a joint committee, which would submit the results of its work to President Erdogan. “After this, the decisions will be taken”, he said.

Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs Postası (11.07.19) reports that Cavusoglu said that Turkey would intensify its works in the areas for which it had been “licenced” in the Eastern Mediterranean and alleged: “It is Turkey’s sovereign right. No one has the right to comment. Only Turkey decides what it wants to do in its continental shelf. We are taking steps according to international law. EverybodyshouldrespectTurkey’srights. Wewillcontinueourdrillings. After our Fatih vessel, Yavuz also went to the area and it will start its drillings in this area. The countries which are not guarantors have no right to speak. If they speak they are obliged to be impartial”.