By Muhammet Ikbal Arslan
LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (AA) - The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) will conduct energy drilling through the licenses it granted to the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO), said the Turkish Cypriot deputy prime minister and foreign minister on Sunday.
“The TRNC will of course drill in the licensed areas we gave the TPAO in the past. Nobody can deny that the Turkish Cypriot nation has the right among the mentioned areas,” Kudret Ozersay told Turkish reporters.
“Thus, just as the Greek Cypriot side is drilling with the licenses it gives to companies, we will also drill through licenses we give to Turkish Petroleum.”
Turkish Cyprus did not issue those licenses “for nothing,” he added.
All interested parties should cooperate on natural gas as soon as possible in the Eastern Mediterranean, he said.
Hami Aksoy, spokesman for Turkey’s Foreign Ministry, said earlier Sunday that the Turkish drill ship Yavuz is headed to license area G south of the island of Cyprusfor its third drilling operation in line with the licenses granted to the Turkish Petroleum Corporation in 2011 by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
- ‘We will defend Turkish Cypriots’ rights’
Separately, the Turkish Cypriot Foreign Ministry said in a statement Sunday that they will do everything to protect their rights with Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The ministry decried Greek Cyprus’ “excessive rhetoric” as well as its “hijacker” mindset that rejects all proposals for cooperation.
The statement said Greek Cyprus continues to try to dominate the entire island with false sovereignty claims as well as to fight steps taken by the Turkish side to protect their rights.
*Writing by Davut Demircan