Turkey's energy minister said Ankara will defend both its own rights and the people’s rights in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Turkish drilling vessel Yavuz sets sail in Izmit Bay, on its way to the Mediterranean Sea, to join the country’s exploration efforts in the region on June 20, 2019.
Turkish drilling vessel Yavuz sets sail in Izmit Bay, on its way to the Mediterranean Sea, to join the country’s exploration efforts in the region on June 20, 2019. (Murad Sezer / Reuters)

Turkey started conducting the fourth drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, the country’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez said Friday.

"We are currently conducting the fourth drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean. We'll keep drilling until we find it [oil]," Donmez said during his speech at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.

Stressing that Turkey will defend both its own rights and the people’s rights in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Donmez said: "The initiator of the present problem is the long-standing incompatible attitude of the Greek Cypriot administration".

Turkey, as a guarantor nation for the TRNC, is currently carrying out hydrocarbon exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean with two drilling vessels, Fatih and Yavuz, along with Oruc Reis and Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa seismic vessels in the same region.

Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the TRNC also has rights to the resources in the area.

The TRNC was established on November 15, 1983, almost a decade after Turkey’s 1974 Cyprus Peace Operation on the island, which stopped persecution and violence against Turkish Cypriots by ultra-nationalist Greek Cypriots. Turkey remains the guarantor for the TRNC.

Source: AA