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PRESS RELEASE REGARDING LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN. 20.08.20
As is known, the seismic survey activity of our research vessel Oruç Reis, which had been scheduled for last July within the areas of our continental shelf declared to UN and within the license areas granted by the Turkish Government to TPAO in 2012, was temporarily suspended upon the instructions of H.E. President Erdoğan. This gesture of good-will, aimed to give a chance to diplomacy and revitalize the dialogue channels which we made upon the request of Germany and the EU, has not been reciprocated.
Greece demonstrated that she is not sincere and honest about dialogue with a pirated agreement concluded with Egypt on 6 August 2020. Through this agreement, the continental shelves of both Turkey and Libya in the Eastern Mediterranean have been violated. Upon this development our research vessel Oruç Reis, has launched its previously planned activity.
Turkey, having not seen once again a positive response to its good-will gesture, will continue to exercise her rights stemming from international law and to resolutely continue her planned activities.
There is no legal basis for the objections of Greece to this activity. As repeatedly stated on previous occasions, the Greek islands in the region, Kastellorizo in particular, cutting off the continental shelf of Turkey is against the principle of equity, which is the main principle of international law for maritime boundary delimitation. It cannot be explained through logic or commonsense to demand maritime jurisdiction areas over the Kastellorizo Island, which is two kilometers away from the Turkish coastline and 580 kilometers from the Greek mainland. It is both ridiculous and groundless in terms of international law to claim that an island of 10 square kilometers has a maritime area of 40 thousand square kilometers.
The party escalating tension in the Mediterranean is not Turkey, but Greece herself. Nobody should try to overstep the line by attempting to exclude Turkey from the Mediterranean Sea which had been under Turkish dominance for centuries. Those acting under the presumption of being "the sole owners" of the Mediterranean will be deeply disappointed. On the other hand, Turkish military presence in the area aims in no way toward an escalation, but merely functions as a guarantee of the exercise of our right to legitimate self-defense if need be. A military intervention on a civilian vessel of ours will naturally not be permitted.
No matter what, Turkey will resolutely continue to protect both her and Turkish Cypriots’ rights in the Eastern Mediterranean stemming from international law. Initiatives and agreements that exclude Turkey or the Turkish Cypriot’s have no chance of success,
We repeat the call of our President Erdoğan: The key to resolution in the Eastern Mediterranean is dialogue and negotiations. If acted with commonsense and wisdom, it is possible to find a formula on the win-win basis which protects everyone's rights.
In addition, we are concerned about the closure of primary schools belonging to the Turkish minority in Western Thrace. With this latest decision, the number of Turkish Minority primary schools, which has been 231 until 25 years ago, dropped to 115. This practice by Greece is a part of the assimilation and oppression efforts towards the Turkish Minority Western Thrace. Meanwhile, the EU has been a mere spectator to the systematic violation of human rights in a member country.
Our initiatives toward the Greek authorities aiming to solve the problems concerning the education of the Turkish Minority in Western Thrace in accordance with the principle of reciprocity founded by the Lausanne Peace Treaty, will continue unabated.