The decision of the Greek Cypriot administration to open block 7 for license applications, within the so-called exclusive economic zone of the Greek Cypriot administration, to international companies that already have hydrocarbon exploration licences in other parcels, shows, by way of a new fait accompli, their insistence on the policy of usurping the legitimate and equal rights of the Turkish Cypriot side as co-owners of the natural resources around the island. This legally void approach of the Greek Cypriot side constitutes a step that will negatively impact regional stability.

The Greek Cypriot side’s mentality which disregards the equal rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriot people regarding the natural resources around the island is a reflection of the mentality which is unready to share power and prosperity – the very mentality which led to the collapse of the Cyprus Conference in 2017 and has prevented a settlement for 50 years. It is also this very mentality which exacerbates the status quo on the island, deemed as unacceptable by the international community. The biased and unjust approach of the international community which turns a blind eye to the unilateral and illegal activities of the Greek Cypriot side, prevents not only a settlement in Cyprus, but is also one of the most important factors hindering the creation of a peaceful atmosphere.

At a time when the UN Secretary-General and the Security Council have intensified their calls regarding Confidence Building Measures, the insistence of the Greek Cypriot side to, once again, take unilateral and illegal steps while turning a blind eye to the Turkish Cypriot side’s calls to act jointly regarding the natural resources around the island – which the whole world accepts as belonging to both communities –  will only serve to increase tensions in the region and cause the two sides to drift even further apart.

On the other hand, the Greek Cypriot side, through declaring licenses in the so-called block is not only disregarding the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people, but also violating the rights of the Republic of Turkey deriving from international law over its continental shelf in the Eastern Mediterranean, which it has repeatedly put on record within the international arena in the past.

As the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, we would like to share with the public that we will continue to take necessary precautions along with Republic of Turkey in order to protect our rights and interests over the island and to move forward with our activities, including drilling, regarding natural resources.