According to Bayrak television (online, 10.05.17), self-styled minister of economy and energy Sunat Atun, in a press conference yesterday, evaluated the oil and natural gas exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean. Atun claimed that counter steps had been taken after South Cyprus (editor’s note: as he refers to the Republic of Cyprus) had by-passed the Turkish Cypriot side.
He also reminded that the proposals put forward by the Turkish Cypriot side on the natural gas issue were left unanswered at the negotiating table.
Atun further alleged that “Turkey had started exploration activities on land and within the territorial waters of the TRNC within the framework of the permission granted by the TRNC government”.
Noting that despite all of these developments there are some circles in the “TRNC” which try to gloss over the “Greek Cypriot Administration’s” stance, he alleged: “Our lands, territorial waters and natural resources are not unclaimed. It is our responsibility to claim our natural resources.”
In response to the criticisms against the “government”, Atun reiterated that they shared the same vision and opinion with Turkey in the field of energy. He also announced that the Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa seismic research vessel will continue with its activities in the area.
He further claimed that during the time when the warning was issued by the Cyprus coastguard, the Barbaros Hayreddin was 3 miles off the South coast of the occupied Karpasia natural park, located exactly at the coordinates 35 degrees 36,500 North and 34 degrees 32,500 South.
Atun also alleged that “the vessel was within the area authorized by the TRNC”.
Commenting on the tensions caused by the playing of the “Janissary March” by the Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa Vessel in response to the warnings from the Cyprus coastguard, Atun claimed: “Those who reacted to the Janissary March were those who turned a blind eye to the sovereignty claims of the Greek Cypriots. This is a serious contradiction. The Greek Cypriot Administration will conduct research in 12 blocks which they determined on its own, will sign agreements with other countries, will act without any concern and will construct a terminal. None of these actions will be seen as a threat for the negotiations process but the presence of the Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa vessel which is pursuant to the agreement signed with motherland Turkey will be perceived as a threat? It is not possible for us to act with this guilty psychology”.
Atun further claimed that the main intention of the Greek Cypriots is to leave Turkey out of the game and to usurp the rights of the Turkish Cypriot “people”.
Atun also stressed that they supported all the activities of the Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa Seismic Research Vessel.
Asked whether the second drilling license was issued or not, he said the second drilling license was within the plans of 2014 but added that such permission had not been given yet.
Atun also explained that an area within the occupied Lefka – Agia Eirini -Morphou triangle (Lefke-Akdeniz-Guzelyurt) located on the western coast was determined for the second drilling phase which will be on land.
He also alleged that the general aim of the Turkish side is not to engage in conflict but to secure its commercial and economic interests.