By Beyza Binnur Donmez
ANKARA – The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Wednesday slammed a joint declaration issued following a trilateral summit between Egypt, Greece and the Greek Cypriot Administration on the Cyprus issue, saying it contains "baseless claims" against Turkey.
The joint declaration, issued Tuesday following the Egypt-Greece-Greek Cypriot Administration (GCA) Summit in Cairo, "has no meaning and value,” the ministry said in a statement.
"This declaration is the latest example of how the Greek/Greek Cypriot duo involves regional countries and instrumentalizes them into their maximalist and intransigent national policies at the expense of international law," it said.
"Since the outset of the Cyprus issue, Turkey has exerted every effort in good faith and has put forward a strong political will for a comprehensive settlement," it said.
"The party who rejected the Annan Plan in 2004 and who left the table at the Cyprus Conference in Crans-Montana in 2017 is known to everyone.
"The Cyprus issue will remain unsettled as long as the Greek/Greek Cypriot duo’s mindset prevails which ignores the very existence of the Turkish Cypriots, denies their political equality and perceives them as a minority," the ministry said.
It stressed that this mindset is the "core reason behind the failure of every negotiation process" carried out over the last five decades.
"On the other hand, Turkey exerts every effort towards the establishment of a mutually acceptable, durable and equitable regime within the framework of international law that upholds the legitimate rights and interests of all parties in all seas, including the Mediterranean," it said.
The ministry accused Greek Cypriot "maximalist policies" of disregarding the principle of "equity" which is one of the most basic principles of international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
"Yet Egypt seems to have turned a blind eye to this abusive treatment by the Greek/Greek Cypriot duo," it added, noting that it led to losses in the past against Egypt’s interests regarding its maritime jurisdiction areas.
Turkey will continue to "resolutely" protect its own rights and the rights of the Turkish Cypriots in the Eastern Mediterranean, it said.
"Turkey is ready to talk to all countries in the region except the GCA for the delimitation of maritime jurisdiction areas in the Eastern Mediterranean in accordance with the principle of equity," the ministry underlined.
Noting that the interlocutors of the Greek Cypriots are the Turkish Cypriots, it explained that the July 13 cooperation proposal of the Turkish Cypriots is an opportunity that should be seized in order to settle the Cypriot dimension of the hydrocarbons issue.
The ministry also "strongly" rejected the "baseless and distorted" claims against Turkey in the Syria part of the declaration.
"As the most affected country from Syria-based terror, Turkey has, as is the case in the past and in the future, demonstrated once again, with the operation initiated today, that it will not hesitate to take the measures required by its national security within its rights stemming from international law," the statement said, referring to Operation Peace Spring launched Wednesday by Turkish troops.
"It is far from credible for those have long been serving for the separatist agenda of the PYD/PKK terrorist organization to refer to the territorial integrity of Syria," it said.
"Those who are rooting for the purpose of splitting Syria over the terrorist organizations must back down at once for the well-being and union of Syrian society."