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Turkish-Cypriots Reject EU Backing Cyprus in East Mediterranean

Αssociated press

A Turkish, left, and Turkish Cypriot breakaway flag are seen on two polls at a Turkish military area at the north part of the city, as two peacekeepers walk the U.N buffer zone that divide the Greek, south, and the Turkish Cypriots, north, controlled areas in divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

The Turkish-Cypriot self-declared leader of the unlawfully-occupied northern third of the island denounced the European Union for calling on Turkey to stop drilling for oil and gas off the island.

The EU – to which the legitimate government of Cyprus belongs and which Turkey has been trying to join since 2005, said Turkey should "respect EU countries' maritime jurisdiction and sovereignty in territorial waters,” even as it refuses.

“It is a violation of law and lack of vision that the EU still adopts a pro-Greek Cyprus attitude and ignore the rights of Turkish-Cypriot and Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean,” said Ersin Tatar, who calls himself prime minister of the outlaw Republic declared by Turkey but unrecognized in the rest of the world.

He said the Turkish-Cypriots and Turkey are within their rights to hunt for energy in Cypriot waters in the island's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) under the United Nations Law of the Sea – they don't recognize unless invoking to their advantage.

EU foreign ministers held a videoconference meeting Thursday and published a declaration that urged Turkey to "respect EU countries' maritime jurisdiction and sovereignty in territorial waters."

The foreign ministers of Greece, Egypt, France, the United Arab Emirates and a representative from the Greek Cypriot administration held a videoconference meeting and later criticized Turkey's activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, said Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency in a report on the Turkish response.