Turkey reiterates vow to defend rights in Eastern Med

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Turkey on Monday reiterated a vow to defend its rights in the Eastern Mediterranean in response to plans by the European Union to impose restrictive measures on the country.

"We have repeatedly and strongly emphasized that in the Eastern Mediterranean, we will not cease to protect our rights stemming from international law and rights and interests of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus [TRNC], despite all of the unintelligible steps of the European Union," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"The decisions taken today at the European Union Foreign Affairs Council meeting clearly demonstrate that our messages following Council meetings of July 15 and October 14, 2019, have completely fallen on deaf ears," it said.

The ministry stressed that from 2004 until today, Turkey and the TRNC have made benevolent efforts to turn the hydrocarbon resources in the Eastern Mediterranean into an element of stability rather than tension as the side having taken all the constructive and positive initiatives.

The ministry said the Greek Cypriot administration and the EU, which it pushed maximalist approaches, neither can perceive the facts nor take decisions in accordance with international law and the principle of equity in this process.

"We have consistently stated since 2004 that naturally, we will not allow the unilateral usurpation of our rights," it added.

The ministry highlighted that the bloc lost its impartiality a long time ago and proved that it cannot take a constructive and helpful role in the issue.

"As a matter of fact, it couldn't be more ironic for the EU to make reference to the principle of good neighborliness after the launch of our off-shore activities as it has become deaf to our repeated calls since 2004 for respect for the sovereignty and legitimate rights of both Turkey and the TRNC," it said.

"It is a vain expectation for those who think that Turkey will bow to threats and back down on its rights in the Eastern Mediterranean," the ministry added.

"No one should doubt that we will continue our exploration and drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean."

On Monday, the EU Foreign Affairs Council adopted a framework in Brussels for restrictive measures against Turkey over its drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.

"The EU may identify persons and institutions to be included in the list of sanctions. We will see when it will be realized or not," Federica Mogherini, the EU's foreign policy chief, said after the meeting.

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