Statement By Prime Minister Erdogan Following The Signing Of Continental Shelf Delimitation Agreement Between Turkey And The Turkish Republic Of Northern Cyprus
--The Greek Cypriot side has concluded agreements regarding the delimitation of the maritime jurisdiction areas in the Eastern Mediterranean on behalf of the whole Island since 2003, purporting to be the sole government on the Island.
--The Greek Cypriot side went even further and issued exploration licenses to international oil/gas companies, invited those companies and conducted offshore exploration activities in the maritime areas of the Island.
--From the outset, we had, as a Guarantor Power, drawn the attention of the international community to the fact that such fait accomplis infringe upon the equal rights and interests of Turkish Cypriots, are against the letter and spirit of comprehensive settlement negotiations under UN auspices and lead to the escalation of tension in the region.
--We had stressed that, these issues should be taken up after the comprehensive settlement and that the two sides should jointly benefit, on an equal footing from the natural resources of the Island, due to the fact that both have legitimate rights over these natural resources.
--Within this context, we had asked the relevant actors and the international community to dissuade the Greek Cypriots from their adventurous attitude; made countless calls for common sense and pointed out the significance for staying away from the unilateral attempts which would harm the comprehensive settlement perspective in the Island.
--Despite these views and the warnings we made together with the TRNC, both at the bilateral level and in international fora since 2003, the Greek Cypriot side commenced oil/gas exploration activities that they had suspended in the past. The Greek Cypriots, deployed a drilling platform on the so-called “12th concession block” and actually started drilling on September 19, 2011.
--We protest this unilateral step of the Greek Cypriots, which is both irresponsible and provocative.
--This step has been taken at a time when the UN negotiations have reached a critical and determining stage, which indicates that the Greek Cypriot side totally disregards the equal rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriots; that they are not willing to share a common future with the Turkish Cypriots and that they are not ready for a comprehensive settlement.
--We made clear to the international community that neither Turkey nor the Turkish Cypriots can remain indifferent to this situation, which constitutes a clear and concrete violation of the rights and the interests of the Turkish Cypriots; and that in the event that the Greek Cypriots go ahead with the drilling, we would take a series of concrete steps with the TRNC in order to protect the legitimate rights of the Turkish Cypriots.
--As a demonstration of our determination, we have concluded an agreement on the delimitation of the continental shelf between Turkey and the TRNC today in New York.
--As known, the continental shelf is a maritime jurisdiction area where coastal states exercise sovereign rights for the purpose of exploration and exploitation of their natural resources on the seabed and subsoil.
--In this context, the agreement that we have signed today delineates a part of Turkey’s and the TRNC’s continental shelves in the Eastern Mediterranean with a line constructed by 27 geographical coordinates determined on the basis of international law and the principle of equity.
--In the agreement it is clearly stipulated that further extension of the delineation line to east and west will be made through agreements between the concerned parties, on the basis of international law and equitible principles. Therefore the issue has been also made relevant to the solution of the Cyprus problem.
--In addition, it has been put on record that legitimate, equal and inherent rights of the Turkish Cypriots over the whole continental shelf of the Island are taken into account and the Turkish Cypriots’ rights related to the entire continental shelf of the Island are reserved.
--It has also been explicitly emphasized with the agreement that Turkey and the TRNC will continue their efforts to find a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus Issue.
--We will make sure that the agreement be ratified by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey and in the TRNC Parliament as soon as possible.
--Furthermore, as announced previously, as a result of the meeting between the delegations from the respective countries’ Energy Ministries last Friday, an agreement was also reached that the Government of the TRNC would issue permits to the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) for oil/gas exploration around the maritime areas of the Island, should the Greek Cypriot Administration proceed with offshore drilling activities in the south of the Island.
--We will also take the necessary steps with the TRNC in a few days to promptly put this exploration agreement into effect.
--On this occasion, we would like to caution international oil/natural gas companies that have and will undertake business with Greek Cypriots. Our Ministry of Energy is working to ban admission of these companies from energy projects in Turkey and impose a series of sanctions upon them.
--Turkey, as a Guarantor Power in Cyprus, will continue to act with common sense and wisdom in the future as it is doing today and will not play into the hands of those willing to exploit tension and crisis.
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