Statement by the Minister of Energy of the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus, Natasa Pilides, to the effect that American energy company Exxon Mobile will resume its natural gas exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, indicates the fact that the Greek Cypriot side is continuing its unabated unilateral activities in the region.
The Greek Cypriot side is escalating tension in the Eastern Mediterranean. So long as the Greek Cypriot side continues its provocative activities which are far from cooperation and equal share over hydrocarbon resources, the Turkish Cypriot side will continue to take equivalent and simultaneous steps in order to protect its rights and interests.
It should not be forgotten that it is the Greek Cypriot side which laid the foundation of tension in the Eastern Mediterranean region. The Greek Cypriot side unilaterally concluded bilateral agreements on delimitation of maritime boundaries and has continued seismic and drilling activities through the international companies that it had licenced.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has been raising the need for diplomacy and cooperation and insisting that the actions should be in line with the fact that the Turkish Cypriot people are the co-owners of the natural resources in and around the island. As all its calls have remained unreciprocated, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus decided to take action in order to protect its rights and legitimate interests in the region, together with Motherland Turkey, and has started its activities in the region in 2011.
We will continue to underline that restoring stability in the Eastern Mediterranean can only be possible if the Greek Cypriot side agrees to establish cooperation with the Turkish Cypriot side, as the co-owner of the natural gas resources in the region. We remind that the only counterpart of the Greek Cypriot side on the issue of energy, as in the case of the Cyprus issue, is the Turkish Cypriot side, regarding the management, exploration, sale and equal share of the energy resources that lie within the maritime jurisdiction areas which belong to Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot Peoples.
It should also be noted that the Republic of Turkey has made a call on organising a conference with the participation of relevant countries in the region and relevant international energy companies. Moreover, the constructive proposal made by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in 2019 is still on the table. However, the Greek Cypriot side, has not responded to these proposals until today.
The international community should realize that the source of tension is the Greek Cypriot side before it suggest any idea for the cessation of the tension. We are of the view that it is possible and necessary that through cooperation, diplomacy and dialogue the deep confidence crisis between the two sides can be overcome, awaiting the settlement of the Cyprus issue.