Turkey continues drilling activities in Cyprus, poses a threat to no one, says DefMin
NEWS SERVICE,  AA  Saturday 11:04, 25 May 2019
Turkey's National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar

Turkey's National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar

Turkey will continue its drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean as part of its bilateral agreement with Northern Cyprus, said Turkey's National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Saturday.
Akar pointed that Ankara and Athens will continue their meetings over the issue, which he deemed as "beneficial" for both countries, noting that Turkey "poses a threat to no one."
The defense minister also said that Ankara opposes "provocative acts and irresponsible statements" over the Aegean and East Mediterranean.

Turkey repeatedly said its hydrocarbon activities in the Eastern Mediterranean are based on its legitimate rights under international law.
“Our desire and expectation are that the rights and interests of Turkey -- which has the longest coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean -- and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to be respected. We expect from all the sides to respect these subjects. This is our most natural right,” Akar said.

“Turkey, in every occasion, voices that it sides with resolution of the problems in Aegean, Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus within the framework of good neighborly relations and international law and it exerts efforts in this direction," Akar added.

Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, saying Turkish Cypriots also have rights to the resources in the area.

In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus’ annexation by Greece, Ankara intervened as a guarantor power. In 1983, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was founded.

The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the dispute, all ending in failure. The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries -- Turkey, Greece, and the U.K. -- ended in 2017 in Switzerland.

In regards to the recent talks with Greece, he said, “Inter-delegation talks have completed in Athens in the direction of the agreement we made with Greek Defense Minister Evangelos Apostolakis.”

“I believe these talks will continue in the future period and think that they will be for the benefit of both countries,” Akar said.

A Turkish defense delegation went to Athens for a technical meeting with Greek officials to enhance cooperation especially in confidence-building measures and code of conduct in the Aegean Sea between May 20-25.

#East Med
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