Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has reiterated Turkey’s stance that unilateral activities around Cyprus for hydrocarbons will not be tolerated.
During a meeting in Ankara on March 7, Yıldırım and his Turkish Cypriot counterpart Tufan Erhürman discussed strengthening the close cooperation between Turkey and Northern Cyprus as well as the Cyprus issue in general.
Yıldırım said at a joint press conference that neither Turkey nor Northern Cyprus would accept any unilateral initiatives regarding the natural resources around the island.
“All kinds of natural riches, hydrocarbon resources around the island of Cyprus are the common wealth of all people living on the island, including both the North and the South,” he said, referring to the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots.
“Therefore, unilateral activities around the island are never welcomed by us [Turkey]. Nor does the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus welcome this,” Yıldırım added.
He underlined that people from both sides of the disputed island should be involved in any activities regarding the extraction of underground resources off Cyprus.
“We consider any work which both parties do not agree to a threat as well as an attempt to breach the sovereign rights of Northern Cyprus,” said the Turkish prime minister.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island’s Turks, and Ankara’s military intervention as a guarantor power.
It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including the collapse of a 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries including Turkey, Greece, and Britain.