Erdogan: nothing can be done in EastMed without north’s consent

Nothing can be done in the Eastern Mediterranean without the consent of Turkey and the ‘TRNC’, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told reporters during a flight on Saturday, as part of his trip to Africa.

Referring to the issue with ENI’s Saipem 12000 drillship, which was blocked from drilling in the Cuttlefish field in block 3 of the Cypriot EEZ by Turkish naval ships, Erdogan said, “Without the consent of the TRNC and Turkey, a step cannot be taken in the area of the Eastern Mediterranean.”

He added that France’s TOTAL and the US’s ExxonMobil might also want to explore in the area, an issue which he had discussed with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. Regarding any further explorations, Erdogan said, “We will not allow the violation of the TRNC’s and Turkey’s rights, which are based on international law.”

During their discussions, Erdogan noted that Macron had asked him to take a softer line when it comes to Cyprus and its EEZ. “He wants our stance to be milder on the issue of Cyprus and its EEZ. And I told him that we are acting within the framework of international law,” the Turkish President said.

He added that in Cyprus both the “north and south have the rights to the oil and natural gas that will be found.” Erdogan noted that Turkey will not accept the unilateral actions of some and that if [President Nicos] Anastasiades wants to be honest then he should clarify the negotiations with the north and with whom he wants to conduct the research activities.

“Drilling must be done together and the product that will be exploited must be shared,” Erdogan said.

Asked if Turkey’s own drillship will conduct research in the Mediterranean soon, the Turkish President said, “Of course it will,” noting that it is the reason the country bought the ship, which “annoyed the Greek Cypriots.”

Meanwhile, Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou told CyBC that a prerequisite to starting the talks anew is the termination of Turkish provocations.

He added, “There has been no change in approach by President Anastasiades in managing the Cyprus problem.”

Prodromou said the President is aware of the stagnation in the talks and added that the President has sent three letter

s to the UN Secretary-General regarding the need to restart discussions.

Asked about possibly holding another conference on Cyprus, Prodromou said that the President remains steady in his position that the five permanent members of the UN Security Council should be present.

During the interview with the state radio, Prodromou did not discount that there would be a social meeting of President Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.

Source: Cyprus Mail