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08-07-2019 14:44

Statement by the Presidency of the Republic on Turkey’s new attempt to illegally conduct drilling operations in the east of Cyprus

The Government of the Republic of Cyprus strongly condemns Turkey’s new attempt, close to the Karpasia peninsula, within the Territorial Sea of the Republic. This second planned drilling, within two months from the commencement of the ongoing illegal drilling operations in the western part of Cyprus’ EEZ, constitutes an escalation of Turkey’s continued violations of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea as well as customary International Law and constitutes a serious violation of the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus.

Turkey continues to blatantly violate international law, both conventional as well as customary, flagrantly disregarding the European Union’s and the international community’s calls to cease its illegal activities and respect the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources within its maritime zones. Instead of engaging in dialogue, as the international community calls her to do, Turkey deliberately avoids doing so, in order to create new fait accomplis.

It is indeed paradoxical that, while Turkey does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus, a member state of the United Nations and the European Union, that has concluded international agreements with its neighbours, it attempts to invoke international law claiming at the same time to act upon the “licensing” of an illegal occupying regime. It is underlined, herewith, that drilling operations that are purportedly conducted on behalf of “TRNC” are illegal and null and void, as it is also the case for the secessionist entity in the occupied part of Cyprus, as provided for in the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council [541 (1983) and 550 (1984)].

Ankara ought to realise that the only way to deal with the problems she herself creates, is through an intensive and decisive dialogue that will lead us to a solution on the basis of the relevant UN Resolutions and the principles upon which the European Union is founded. A solution that will, amongst others, address the challenges we currently face as a result of the unacceptable military occupation by Turkey.

The Republic of Cyprus is determined to continue to defend its legal rights to the benefit of all its legal citizens, intensifying its efforts at a legal, political and diplomatic level, using all means at its disposal, especially in the framework of the European Union. To this effect, we recall the decisions of the Council of the European Union, and in particular the Conclusions of the European Council of 20th June 2019, condemning Turkey’s illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and underlining the direct and serious impact that these actions have on the whole spectrum of the EU-Turkey relations, and to which the Union will respond with appropriate measures.