Mustafa Sentop

TEKIRDAG, Turkey

Turkey will protect and defend its rights in accordance with international law, parliament speaker Mustafa Sentop said Friday.

Countries were drawn to the Eastern Mediterranean when research revealed energy resources in the region, according to Sentop, who spoke at the opening ceremony of Rumeli Pier and Selanik Square in Tekirdag province.

“As the Turkish Republic, we will be the guard and follower of all our rights and authority that belongs to us both in our land and water according to international law,” he said.

Sentop stressed Turkey’s commitment to protecting the rights and interests of Turkish Cypriots in the Eastern Mediterranean, along with its own rights and interests.

Turkey has no designs on anyone’s land or sea, Sentop said, but stressed that unlike before, Ankara now has the economic and military power to protect the interests of its nation.

He also said Turkey demands that each state protect its own rights and respect the rights of other states, adding that Turkey will do whatever is necessary to achieve that goal.

Turkey resumed energy exploration earlier this month in the Eastern Mediterranean after Greece and Egypt signed a controversial maritime delimitation deal.

Greece and other countries have tried to box in Turkey’s maritime territory and energy exploration rights, despite no country having a longer coastline on the Mediterranean.

Turkey has consistently opposed Greece’s efforts to declare a huge exclusive economic zone, violating the interests of Turkey.

Ankara has also said energy resources near the island of Cyprus must be shared fairly between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) — which has issued Turkish state oil company Turkish Petroleum a license — and the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus.

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