TURKEY

Turkey can't be excluded from E. Med energy equation: Turkish VP

Turkey and Turkish Cypriots cannot be excluded from the energy equation in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkish vice president said on Friday.

"Everyone should accept that Turkey and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus cannot be excluded from energy equation in the region," Fuat Oktay said at an event in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on Friday.

Oktay said the current status quo is unsustainable.

He said the Fatih drillship's activities in the west of Cyprus island is a proof of Turkey's decisiveness on the issue.

The vice president said Turkey's new drilling ship Yavuz will carry out similar activities in the Eastern Mediterranean in the following period.

Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration's unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, saying Turkish Cypriots also have rights to the resources in the area.

In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus' annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, the TRNC was founded.

The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the dispute, all ending in failure. The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries -- Turkey, Greece, and the U.K. -- ended in 2017 in Switzerland.

In 2004, in twin referendums, the plan of then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was accepted by Turkish Cypriots but rejected by Greek Cypriots.

Talks have focused on a federal model, based on the political equality of the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides, but Greek Cypriots' rejection of such a solution, including the Annan plan, led to the emergence of other models.

In a recent report, current UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also said that "new ideas" may be needed for a settlement on the island.

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