We are witnessing with astonishment the continuation of hydrocarbon activities of the Greek Cypriot side in the Eastern Mediterranean despite all the past warnings of the Turkish Cypriots, in total disregard of their legitimate rights over the Island’s natural resources.

In this connection, the fact that the Greek Cypriots have embarked on new drilling activities is the most recent example of such illegitimate steps and has shown that they are repeating the mistakes of the past. The said unilateral steps have also once again shown that the Greek Cypriots consider themselves the sole legitimate owners of the Island and cannot even fathom taking joint action with the Turkish Cypriots based on political equality. The failure of the Conference on Cyprus this past July, despite the goodwill and constructive efforts of the Turkish Cypriot side, can also be attributed to this attitude of the Greek Cypriot side.

Given this unfortunate development, we deem is necessary to remind, once again, that the Turkish Cypriot People have equal and legitimate rights over the natural resources found in the maritime jurisdiction zones of the Island. Hence, the Turkish Cypriot side should have an equal say on all decisions concerning the exploration, drilling and exploitation of hydrocarbons reserves. For this reason, any unilateral steps taken by the Greek Cypriot side in disregard of the Turkish Cypriot side are unacceptable.

As was proposed several times in the past, the best way forward on this matter is for all activities pertaining to natural resources to be postponed until a just and viable comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus issue is reached, or otherwise for these activities to be conducted within the framework of cooperation between the two sides. If this approach is not observed, however, we would like to declare once again that the Turkish Cypriot side will take all necessary measures, in close consultation with Guarantor Turkey, in order to protect their own rights and interests.
It has been proven, once again, that the insistence of the Greek Cypriot side to refrain from accepting the Turkish Cypriots as the equal co-owners of the Island and their political equals, constitutes the greatest impediment to the efforts to reach a lasting and comprehensive settlement on the Island.

In this framework, we would like to emphasize that this unchanging mentality of the Greek Cypriots has shown us once again that it will not be possible to reach a settlement on the Island on the basis of political equality, and thus that the negotiation of a two-state solution could also be brought to the table as an option.

28 December 2017,