The eastern Mediterranean region will face a sustained security threat if Cyprus continues unilateral operations there, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.
Erdogan, on an official visit to Britain, made the comment in a speech at the Chatham House think tank in London. Turkey and Cyprus‘s internationally recognised Greek Cypriot government have been locked in a public dispute over overlapping claims of jurisdiction for offshore oil and gas research.
“If the Greek Cypriot side insists on continuing its unilateral hydrocarbon activities in Eastern Mediterranean, security and stability in the area will be continuously in danger. I am saying this openly and clearly…” Erdogan was quoted as saying.
According to Turkish Cypriot media, Erdogan also claimed that the Greek Cypriot side had not approached the establishment of a partnership on the basis of the political equality with the Turkish Cypriots, and blamed Nicosia for the collapse of the talks in Crans-Montana last year.
Cyprus is expected to be on the agenda when Erdogan has a meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday during his three-day visit to the UK.
Erdogan arrived in the UK on Sunday afternoon and will also meet the queen.
Before landing in the UK, Erdogan has called Britain a “strategic partner and ally”, saying he wanted to improve trade relations between the two countries.
“We want to continue our economic relations as the governments of Turkey and the United Kingdom without interruptions after Brexit,” Erdogan said.
However, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable condemned the visit and accused Erdogan of having an “unacceptable disregard for liberal, democratic values.
“May’s administration appears to have substituted diplomacy for sycophancy in its pursuit of Brexit.
“By permitting a state visit and audience with the Queen, May and [Foreign secretary Boris] Johnson are essentially rolling out the red carpet for a man with a disregard for human rights, who is responsible for alarming oppression and violence.”
Source: Cyprus Mail