Turkey’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hami Aksoy said on Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) would continue its exploring and drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean, Daily Sabah reported.
Aksoy’s statement came after Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio and his Greek Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides said Ankara’s drilling activities in the region were disregarding Cyprus’ sovereignty and rights.
“We invite all EU members, Italy particularly, to abandon their attitudes that ignore the rights of Turkish Cypriots,” Aksoy said.
Turkey is in a bitter dispute with Greece and Cyprus over rights to drill for hydrocarbons around the island. Turkey’s recent decision to send drilling ships in areas that that overlap with the Greek Cypriots’ Exclusive Economic Zone has escalated the tensions and was denounced by the United States and the European Union.
Ankara claims control of territorial waters which overlap with areas claimed by Cyprus, and also supports the territorial rights of the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in the northern part of the island, which is only recognised by Turkey.
“The guarantee of these rights is possible either by stopping all offshore activities in the south of the island until the Cyprus issue is resolved or within the scope of cooperation between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots within the framework proposed on July 13, 2019,” Aksoy said.
Italian and Greek foreign ministers also said the memorandum of understanding on maritime borders signed between Turkey and the U.N.-recognised government of Libya was unacceptable.
The agreement, signed on Nov. 27 during a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Libya’s Tripoli-based Government of National Accord head Fayez Al Sarraj, ignores territorial waters around the divided island of Cyprus and number of Greek islands, including Crete.
Rejecting the criticism regarding the Turkish-Libyan maritime agreement, the spokesman said that the silence of Italy, along with other European countries, over the maritime delimitation deal signed between the Greek Cypriot administration and Egypt in 2003 was a reflection of the contradictory and incoherent policy followed by those countries, according to Daily Sabah.