The Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) was licensed by the TRNC Council of Ministers on 22 September 2011 to carry out hydrocarbon exploration and extraction activities in designated areas on the basis of the existing rights of the Turkish Cypriot people over the maritime jurisdiction areas of the Island. Within this framework, the initial seismic exploration activities took place at the end of 2011.
TPAO’s Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa ship arrived on site to conduct more detailed exploration in the licensed areas within the scope of the contract signed with the TRNC Government on 2 November 2011.
The Turkish Cypriots, who are the co-owners of the island of Cyprus, have equal and inalienable rights over the exploration, extraction and processing of natural resources found within the maritime jurisdiction areas of the Island. In this context, it is natural for the Turkish Cypriot side to carry out activities within its designated licensed areas. The reactions against these activities put forth by the Greek Cypriot Administration of South Cyprus, which are based on the denial of the existence of the TRNC, are therefore groundless. It should be recalled that it is the Greek Cypriot side which is threatening the stability of the region by carrying out unilateral activities, making it apparent, once again, that the said reactions are baseless.
The Turkish Cypriot side maintains the belief that the sharing of the natural resources of the Island can be settled through mutual dialogue and good will. The proposals submitted by the Turkish Cypriot side to the Secretary General of the United Nations on 24 September 2011 and 29 September 2012, which called for the equitable sharing of the natural resources of the Island, are still valid. The Greek Cypriot side, which did not respond positively to these proposals, is continuing its hydrocarbon exploration/extraction activities by disregarding the rights of the Turkish Cypriots.
It has also been alleged in the Greek Cypriot press that this initiative of the Turkish Cypriot side was planned to coincide with the meeting of the Turkish Cypriot President, Mr. Derviş Eroğlu, and the Greek Cypriot leader, Mr. Nicos Anastasiades. This allegation is not justifiable. It is a well known fact by all concerned that such exploration activities are the result of long-term planning. Moreover, the Greek Cypriot side’s unwilling stance in face of all the efforts of the Turkish Cypriot side towards the resumption of the negotiation process in a result-oriented manner in the shortest possible time is known by the United Nations and by the international community.
In order to ensure peace and stability on the Island and in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Greek Cypriot side should abandon its policies which raise tension in the region and direct its efforts towards the resumption of result-oriented negotiations to find a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem. Furthermore, the best line of action would be to make constructive contributions towards the search for a mutually agreed platform for conducting the hydrocarbon exploration/extraction activities until a comprehensive settlement is reached.
28 November 2013,