Turkish Cypriots are seeking equitable revenue sharing in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey’s foreign minister said on Thursday.
“What Turkish Cypriots are asking is very fair. Equitable revenue sharing. They made proposals in 2011, 2012, and 2019,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said during the Bratislava Global Security Forum in Slovakia.
“We urge everybody to [accept] equitable sharing and delimitation. But unfortunately [we were] constantly refused,” he added.
“Greece has maximalist claims,” Cavusoglu said, citing the so-called Seville Map, under which small Greek islands near the Turkish shore are seen as having huge continental shelves, supposedly superseding the shelf of the large Turkish mainland.
Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus – along with some sources close to the EU – have used the controversial map as a tool to isolate Turkey by giving it no maritime territory outside of the Gulf of Antalya, southern Turkey.
‘Turkey must protect rights of Turkish Cypriots’
“We have been doing seismic research activities in the areas that we registered to the UN in 2004 and gave licenses for in 2009 and 2011,” Cavusoglu stressed.
Underlining that Turkey has given diplomacy and meaningful dialogue with Greece another chance, he said violating Turkey’s continental shelf “does not show good will.”
On troops from Turkey stationed in Turkish Cyprus, Cavusoglu said this issue was negotiated under the 2004 Annan plan and also the Crans-Montana Cyprus talks in 2017.
Underscoring that Turkish Cypriots with the support of Turkey supported the Annan Plan in a referendum, he questioned why the Greek side rejected it.
“Because you do not want to share anything with Turkish Cypriots,” he stressed.
Nicos Anastasiades, the president of Southern Greek Cyprus, said that Greek Cypriots do not even want to share hospitals with Turks, Cavusoglu added.
“Turkey is one of the guarantor countries for Cyprus. Turkey is obliged to protect the rights of Turkish Cypriots,” he stressed.
In 2004, the plan of then-UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for a solution was accepted by the Turkish Cypriots but rejected by the Greek Cypriots in twin referendums.
The 2017 Crans-Montana Conference in Switzerland held with the participation of the guarantor countries — Turkey, Greece, and the UK — ended in failure.
Tensions have recently escalated regarding the issue of energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Greece, with France’s support, has disputed Turkey’s energy exploration, trying to box in Turkish maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast.
Turkey, the country with the longest coastline on the Mediterranean, has sent drill ships to explore for energy on its continental shelf, saying that Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) also have rights in the region.
To reduce tensions, Turkey has called for dialogue to ensure fair sharing of the region’s resources.
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