Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay made statements to NTV regarding natural resources in the Eastern Mediterranean.
NTV: In what way are the drilling studies started by vessel Fatih important? And what will be changed in the region by this step which has been taken with Turkey?
Özersay: “We gave licenses previously to Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) which will start some excavations on behalf of the TRNC and the Turkish Cypriot people within the maritime jurisdiction areas of Cyprus, and the Turkish Cypriot side will no longer be in the position of only observing the unfavourable de facto situations and protesting about what has been done, as it was in the past.
This should be seen as an indication that what we say will not be just words but instead we have the physical opportunities to carry out what we say. The Greek Cypriot side have done things in the past and we could only protest, saying that we reserved the right. We always protested when they made the Exclusive Economic Zone agreements with neighbouring countries and also when they granted licenses and did seismic research. Thus, up to now the de facto situation has always been held against us. With this development now, with the drilling vessel purchased by Turkey and the second drilling vessel which will be activated after a period, we shall be in a position of establishing our own rights by ourselves. The de facto physical opportunity to be in the field is emerging for us.
Of course, these excavations are starting in Turkey’s maritime jurisdiction areas but the real important step to be taken will be the commencement of excavations in the blocks declared by the TRNC.
NTV: Do you think that if a new negotiation process resumes in Cyprus, these activities will halt again as they did in the past?
Özersay: In the past, this was unfortunately misused in a manner which was against us. In fact, in 2015, the two sides had mutually decided to suspend these works because negotiations were taking place. In the period following this agreement, the Greek Cypriot side continued these works. The Turkish Cypriot side had suspended these works with Turkey. From now on, we will not allow anyone to stop our works related to the maritime jurisdiction areas using the negotiations as an excuse.”