Azerbaijan resolutely supports Turkey’s activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, said Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry.

In a statement Wednesday, Leyla Abdullayeva, the ministry’s spokeswoman, said Turkey “has historically played a significant role in the development and progress of the Mediterranean region.”

Stressing the importance of reducing tension in the Mediterranean, she said Azerbaijan resolutely supports all steps by Turkey based on international law for peace and stability.

In response to the statement of Armenian Foreign Ministry about Turkey’s activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, she said Armenia’s stance is based on groundless accusations and remarks against Turkey must be condemned as an attempt by Armenia to abuse the sensitive situation in the Mediterranean for its own narrow political interests.

Last week, Turkey resumed energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean after Greece and Egypt signed a controversial maritime delimitation deal.

The agreement came days after Ankara said it would postpone its oil and gas exploration as a goodwill gesture.

But after declaring the Greek-Egyptian deal “null and void,” Turkey authorized the Oruc Reis research vessel to continue its activities in an area within the country’s continental shelf.

The ship will continue its two-week mission until Aug. 23 along with the vessels Cengiz Han and Ataman.

Turkey has consistently opposed Greece’s efforts to declare an exclusive economic zone based on small islands near Turkish shores, violating the interests of Turkey, the country with the longest coastline in the Mediterranean.

Turkey has also said energy resources near Cyprus must be shared fairly between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) – which has issued Turkish Petroleum a license – and the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the only solution to the dispute was through dialogue and negotiation, and urged Athens to respect Turkey’s rights.

*Writing by Fahri Aksut

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