ANKARA – Turkish energy research vessels hunting for oil and gas off the coast of Cyprus in defiance of soft European Union sanctions are really in their own country’s territory, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
He blasted the Cypriot government, a member of the European Union that Turkey has been trying to join since 2005, for awarding an exploration license in the Mediterranean to ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum in the island’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ,) parts of which Turkey doesn’t recognize.
“This unilateral step taken by the Greek-Cypriot administration shuns the rights of our country and of Turkish Cypriots,” Erdogan said, reported Kathimerini.
“A part of the license field in question violates Turkey’s continental shelf in the Eastern Mediterranean and disregards the rights of Turkish Cypriots who are co-owners of the island,” he also said.
Erdogan said that Turkey’s Foreign Ministry will be monitoring developments after earlier warning that Turkish warships in the region wouldn’t allow ExxonMobil and Qatar to go ahead with their operations.
Turkey doesn’t recognize Cyprus and bars its ships and planes and rejected earlier offers by Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades to share 30 percent of potentially lucrative energy revenues with Turkish-Cypriots occupying the northern third.