Chief of Staff denies sending of Turkish warships to Cyprus

Iran Materials 1 February 2007 15:04 (UTC +04:00)

(www.cihannews.com) вЂ" Turkish Chief of Staff has dismissed the claims that Turkey has sent warships around Cyprus, following a crisis sparked by an agreement signed between Greek Cyprus and Lebanon on explorations of oil near Cyprus.

Gen. Yasar Buyukanit told reporters before his meeting with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul on Thursday that no warships were sent to the area, as reported in some TV channels.

We have already ships in Aegean Sea and the eastern Mediterranean for patrolling on regular duties, Buyukanit said, in response to the claims. Head of the Turkish army also added that it was out of question to send new ships to the area, reports Trend.

On Jan. 17, Lebanon and Greek Cyprus signed an agreement for the delineation of an undersea border to facilitate future oil and gas exploration. Last year, Greek Cyprus signed a similar agreement with Egypt.

Turkey warned Lebanon and Egypt not to press ahead with the deals signed with Cyprus, saying Turkey and Turkish Cypriots also had rights in the region.

Turkey is determined to protect its rights and interests in the eastern Mediterranean and will not allow attempts to erode them", a statement from Turkish Foreign Ministry.