The call made in the paragraph on Cyprus in the conclusions of the EU Leaders Summit, which took place on 23-24 October 2014, to respect the sovereign rights of the so-called “Republic of Cyprus” over its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone, is an unfortunate statement which is not in line with the realities on the Island. The statement overlooks the inherent rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriot people and serves no other purpose than exacerbating the issue which actually arose following the abrupt and unilateral decision of the Greek Cypriot side to withdraw from the negotiation table.

The Turkish Cypriot side has repeatedly stated that the unilateral steps of the Greek Cypriot side regarding hydrocarbon reserves will serve only to increase tension in the region, and that if these activities continue, it will be compelled to take simultaneous and equivalent reciprocal steps. On the other hand, the Greek Cypriot side has refrained from responding to the constructive proposals of the Turkish Cypriot side which envisages to establish a bi-communal committee to take joint decisions on the management of the hydrocarbon reserves and continued its unilateral actions. The lack of response by the international community against the intransigent stance of the Greek Cypriot side regarding cooperating on the management of hydrocarbon resources further emboldened the Greek Cypriot sides uncooperative endeavors, which caused the escalation of tension in the Eastern Mediterranean.

We deem it necessary to reiterate to the EU Leaders and the Greek Cypriot side that, as one of the equal partners on the island of Cyprus, the Turkish Cypriot people will not remain impassive when their inalienable rights are violated. At this critical juncture, our expectation from the international community is to encourage the Greek Cypriot side to return to the negotiating table and engage in dialogue on all issues without further delay, including the issue of hydrocarbons, so that we can find ways to cooperate in the spirit of a partnership based on federalism which we aspire to achieve.