Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 12
By Rufiz Hafizoglu – Trend:
Turkey will protect the rights of Turkish Cypriots, said the Turkish Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar, Trend reports referring to Turkish media.
According to Akar, Turkish Cypriots have the same rights to the island’s hydrocarbon resources as the rest of its inhabitants, and noted that any decision that is directed against the interests of Turkish Cypriots is doomed to fail.
"Turkey demands countries to show respect towards the rights of Turkish Cypriots," Akar said.
The Turkish drilling vessel Yavuz began oil and gas exploration near the northern tip of Cyprus on August 7, and wells were drilled to a depth of 1,700 meters.
Earlier, the foreign ministers of EU member states approved sanctions against Turkey in connection with the exploration of hydrocarbon deposits in the Eastern Mediterranean. The sanction measures, among other things, include reduction in EU funding for Turkey and the termination of negotiations on an air service agreement.
At the same time, if Turkey continues to insist on its position, other sanctions may be applied, including restrictive measures against companies or individuals involved in the exploration of deposits.
On Monday, July 8, Turkey sent a second drilling vessel, Yavuz, to the Karpas Peninsula on the northern tip of Cyprus. The Turkish Cypriots issued a permit for the right to work in this area to the Turkish state oil company.
The EU criticized Turkey on July 16 for drilling plans in the area, warning that it was preparing "appropriate measures."
However, the Turkish Minister of Energy Fatih Donmez said that the search for hydrocarbon reserves will continue.
“We will carry out drilling activities based on our legal rights,” Donmez said.