No: 181, 5 August 2011, Press Release Regarding the Greek Cypriot Administration’s Gas Exploration Activities in the Eastern Mediterranean

International law dictates that the delimitation of the continental shelf or the exclusive economic zone in the Eastern Mediterranean, which is indeed a semi-enclosed sea, should be effected between the relevant states in an equitable manner, taking into account the rights and interests of all parties.

Yet the Greek Cypriot Administration, contrary to international law and in violation of the rights of the third parties, carries on its attempts, since 2003, in concluding bilateral agreements, delimiting maritime jurisdiction zones with the neighbouring countries and in conducting oil/natural gas exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.

These agreements and exploration activities of the Greek Cypriots negatively affect the settlement of the Cyprus question and lead to new conflicts among the countries in the region. Turkey’s views and objections on this matter, as well as those of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus have already been expressed to the countries in the region and registered with the United Nations in the past. In this respect, the countries and the companies having an interest in oil/natural gas exploration and exploitation in the south of the island of Cyprus based on invalid permits were called to act in a responsible manner.

We still maintain our stance and views regarding the issue.

In light of the recent news and official statements that offshore drilling activity in the south of the Island will start as of October 2011 it is deemed necessary to draw attention to some points once more:

The Greek Cypriot Administration does not represent in law or in fact the Turkish Cypriots and Cyprus as a whole. As such, the Greek Cypriot Administration is not entitled to unilaterally negotiate and conclude international agreements as well as adopt laws and conduct activities regarding the exploitation of natural resources on behalf of the entire island. These unlawful acts create tension in the region, compromise and prejudge the Turkish Cypriots’ existing and inherent equal rights over the natural resources of the island and the sea areas of the Island of Cyprus as well as have a direct bearing on the ongoing settlement negotiations.

It is only obvious that this kind of unilateral attempts embodies serious risks and drawbacks especially on the face of critical juncture of ongoing comprehensive settlement talks to form a new partnership and determine the future of the Island. Untimely and irresponsible actions of the Greek Cypriot Administration do deliver a serious blow to efforts to find a solution.

The fact that another country of the region has made the delimitation agreement signed by the Greek Cypriot Administration an issue before the United Nations demonstrates that these unilateral attempts undermine peace and stability of the region and give rise to new conflicts in addition to already existing ones.

International community should act responsibly to not to encourage these attempts of the Greek Cypriots aiming at usurping the legitimate and inherent right of the Turkish Cypriots to equally benefit from the natural resources of the Island.

Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus will continue their diplomatic and political efforts in accordance with international law to protect their legitimate rights and interests in the region. Nobody should suspect that Turkey and the TRNC is resolved to do whatever necessary in this regard. It is our expectation that unilateral actions to create fait accomplis on the ground which could derail the settlement talks on the Island and increase the tension in the region be avoided.