Nicosia has categorically rejected Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s claims that the Republic of Cyprus does not recognize the Turkish Cypriots’ rights and that it is threatening peace, stressing that if anyone is threatening peace this is Turkey.
Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said on Saturday that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in an interview with Reuters tried to give the impression that his country sought solutions in accordance with the law. However, what was totally absent from his positions and his argumentation was international law, said Prodromou.
“We categorically reject his unsubstantial claim that the Republic of Cyprus does not recognize the rights of the Turkish Cypriots and the law, and that ‘it is threatening peace’. If anyone is threatening peace this is Turkey that intervenes with state-owned research and drilling vessels, accompanied by warships, in the EEZ or even in the territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus”, Prodromou said.
He noted that the fact that the Republic of Cyprus is acting in accordance with the international law, which the Turkish President seemed unable to understand, is also evident from the clear positions of both the EU and the US, Russia and the international community in general which support its sovereign rights against Turkey`s illegal interventions.
“It is also evident from the fact that the Republic of Cyprus, on the basis of international law, is cooperating with other neighbouring states, such as Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, as well as with very important international companies that always act in accordance with the international law and not illegally”, he added.
The Spokesman noted that by exploiting its natural resources, the Republic of Cyprus acted on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots.
Prodromou said that the Turkish President’s claim that “there are areas around Cyprus that have been designated where Turkey can carry out explorations” was completely unjustified and arbitrary.
He also rejected Erdogan’s claim that northern Cyprus did not become a member of the EU in 2004, describing it as “absolutely baseless” and pointed out that the Turkish President should know that the Republic of Cyprus became a member of the EU in 2004 and therefore the whole island has joined the Union.
Prodromou added that if Turkey agrees to a solution of the Cyprus problem and abandons its expansive policy, then Turkish Cypriots as Cypriot citizens will fully participate in the European Union.
He also pointed out that tens of thousands of Turkish Cypriots have been granted the Cypriot citizenship and they hold documents of the Republic of Cyprus; therefore, they are already European citizens.
“If anyone wants to deprive Cypriots, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, of their internationally recognised rights, it is Turkey, who according to its claims and what is shown on the maps of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is trying to usurp 44% of the Cypriot EEZ”, the Spokesman said.
Concluding, he said that the Turkish President must put an end to the Turkish side’s expansive actions in the fenced-off area of Famagusta that violate the relevant decisions of the Security Council, and stop the interventions of Turkish vessels in Cyprus’ EEZ that are contrary to international law.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Turkey has ignored numerous UN resolutions calling for the withdrawal of the Turkish troops and respect of the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus.
Turkey issued a navigational telex (navtex), announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus and since 4 May 2019, the Turkish drill ship “Fatih” is anchored 36 nautical miles west of Akamas peninsula. The area falls within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus. Ankara extended the navtex until November 1, 2019. A second Turkish drill ship, “Yavuz”, was anchored off the island’s north-eastern coast on July 8 and operates within the territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus.
In response, EU Foreign Ministers endorsed on 15 July 2019 measures concerning Turkey’s illegal drilling in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Cyprus. In accordance with the 20 June 2019 European Council conclusions, Foreign Ministers also invited the High Representative and the European Commission to continue working on options for targeted measures in light of Turkey’s continued drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean./ibna