Statement of the TRNC Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the unilateral natural gas exploration activities of the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus
The Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus (GCA) has been escalating tension in the Eastern Mediterranean through its continuing hydrocarbon related activities with an Italian-owned and Maltese-flagged vessel named NAUTICAL GEO. The Greek Cypriot administration, through a NAVTEX issued on 20 October 2021, has stated that it will commence exploration activities between the dates 21-23 October 2021 in the south of the island overlapping with the licensed blocks by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
The Turkish Cypriot people, as one of the co-owner of the island, are also the co-owner of the hydrocarbon resources around the island. This is a natural reflection of the sovereign equality and equal status of the Turkish Cypriot people gained in 1960. Therefore, we strongly protest the exploration announced by the Greek Cypriot side which did not seek the consent of the TRNC.
In view of the foregoing, the Turkish Cypriot side will not remain as a mere spectator while its rights are being usurped and violated by the unilateral acts and fait accompli created by the Greek Cypriot side. In response to the unilateral acts of the Greek Cypriot side, the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) will continue to undertake activities on behalf of the Turkish Cypriot people in the licence blocks announced by our State in order to protect our rights.
The Turkish Cypriot side has always opted cooperation and reconcilement as priority tools to handle this issue. The proposal of the Turkish Cypriot side dated 13 July 2019 regarding the natural resources in and around the island; as well as the call of Turkey to convene a conference with the participation of all interested parties in the Eastern Mediterranean including the TRNC, are two important opportunities which will enable the issue to be handled in a diplomatic manner.
Availing this opportunity, we would like to remind our calls for cooperation once again to the Greek Cypriot administration which raises tension and creates instability in the Eastern Mediterranean.