Ankara sent a strong message to the Republic of Cyprus stressing that Turkey will not allow any country or company to conduct hydrocarbon research in the maritime areas of its jurisdiction. The reason for the announcement is the invitation of Nicosia to invite international companies for off-shore hydrocarbon exploration in the area number 7.
Turkish MFA’s announcement
“We are concerned that the Greek Cypriot Administration (GCA), by ignoring the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people, has decided to invite international companies for off-shore hydrocarbon exploration within so-called “License Area Number 7” which the GCA unilaterally delimited.
This decision of the GCA constitutes an evidence that the GCA persists in ignoring the equal and inalienable rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriot side on natural resources of the Island. Indeed, the Greek Cypriot side, by acting this way, once more demonstrates that they have not given up their position, which caused the closure of the Cyprus Conference in July 2017 without any results, and disregards the fact that the Turkish Cypriot side has political equality and co-ownership of the island.
On the other hand, this decision violates Turkey’s rights in its continental shelf in the region stemming from international law. An important segment of so-called “License Area Number 7” subject to this decision remains within the outer limits of Turkey’s continental shelf in the Eastern Mediterranean, as has been registered with the UN.
It is well known that any exploration activity regarding natural resources on Turkey’s continental shelf, the outer limits of which were conveyed to the UN via our Notes dated 2 March 2004 and 12 March 2013, can only be carried out by obtaining Turkey’s permission.
As it has been emphasized by our side regarding this issue, Turkey has never allowed and will never allow any foreign country, company or ship to conduct unauthorized research activities regarding natural resources within its maritime jurisdiction areas.
Turkey will continue to take necessary measures, and will maintain all initiatives and activities, including drilling exercises, with a view to protecting its rights and interests in its continental shelf. Indeed, some drilling activities are planned on Turkey’s continental shelf in the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as in the areas licensed to Turkish Petroleum by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
In this framework, we state that no hydrocarbon exploration activity can be conducted on the Turkish continental shelf, based on invalid licenses that the GCA may endeavour to issue. We invite all countries and companies that might be interested in participating in the tender to act with common sense and to duly consider the realities on the ground”./IBNA