At a time when the negotiations are ongoing, the commencement of drilling activities by the Greek Cypriot Administration within the framework of its illegal hydrocarbon exploration activities carried out in the Eastern Mediterranean in Parcel 9 allegedly situated in its so-called Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and carried out by a Bahamas registered ship named SAIPEM 10000, in total disregard of the rights of the Turkish Cypriots over the Island, is not only a disconcerting development but also unacceptable as the area overlaps with the areas which are licensed by our State to the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO). Moreover, it is not possible to understand this confidence undermining behaviour since the Greek Cypriot side repeatedly highlights the importance of Confidence Building Measures.

Particularly at a time when the United Nations Secretary-General has appointed a new Special Advisor on Cyprus in order to assume an active role in the ongoing negotiation process and a new phase of the negotiation process has commenced, the provocative activities of the Greek Cypriot side, such as the commencement of drilling activities in Parcel 9 and the signing of a Framework Agreement on the joint exploitation and mutual use of hydrocarbon reserves within its maritime borders with Egypt, are indicative of the lack of will of the Greek Cypriot side towards reaching a settlement and that the Greek Cypriot side will continue its policies of exacerbating tension in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has already underlined, through its previous Press Statements, that the Turkish Cypriot side will not condone the unilateral activities of the Greek Cypriot side aimed at creating a fait accompli and usurping the legitimate rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriot people, who are one of the co-owners of the Island of Cyprus. The TRNC Government continues to take the necessary steps in this regard. Within this framework, the Turkish Cypriot side in cooperation with Turkey will send a seismic Exploration Ship with the necessary technical capacity to the areas in which TPAO was given exploration licenses by the TRNC to conduct exploration on behalf of the Turkish Cypriot people, the co-owners of the natural resources of the Island. Based on the results of the data received from the seismic exploration, it is anticipated that drilling platforms will also be sent to the relevant areas.

As the Turkish Cypriot side, we are of the belief that until a comprehensive settlement is reached, the exploration, extraction and processing of the natural resources around the Island, which is co-owned by the two peoples, should be carried out through the mutual cooperation of the two sides rather than through unilateral initiatives. In this connection, it is necessary to recall that the proposals of the Turkish Cypriot side made through the UN Secretary-General on 24 September 2011 and 29 September 2012 constitute the outline of a constructive cooperation. We invite the Greek Cypriot side to cease its unilateral activities bearing in mind that the negotiation process is at a sensitive stage.

It is the expectation of the Turkish Cypriot side that the Greek Cypriot leadership abandons its unilateral and illegal activities and focuses on the UN negotiation process, which resumed with the agreement of the two leaders on the Joint Statement of 11 February 2014, with the aim of finding a settlement.