The Turkish foreign ministry today directly threatened Cyprus with military action on the ground if the Republic of Cyprus begins drilling for hydrocarbons in November.

The announcement is considered to be in part a response to the Greece-France mutual defence pact which, however, does not include Greece’s maritime jurisdiction (EEZ).

Cyprus’ EEZ is unprotected from Turkish military action.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry threatened Cyprus with intervention if it makes any move toward drilling in its own EEZ and it slammed Athens and Nicosia for supposedly provocative actions “that increase tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean”.

The Turkish foreign ministry statement is as follows:

“Both Greece and the Greek Cypriot Administration [Republic of Cyprus] are taking steps that increase tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean. The effort to send research vessels into [the area of] our continental shelf in the Mediterranean continues. We respond to these provocations both on the ground and at the [negotiating] table and we never allow a violation of our rights. The Greek Cypriot side announced that it will begin drilling in November. If that occurs, Turkey will continue to give the necessary responses to such provocations in order to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriots.”

Ankara’s ‘legal rights’

In an interview with TRT World, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu that in the Mediterranean the “legal rights” and “sovereignty” of Ankara are non-negotiable”, and he threatened Cyprus with “hard power”.

“We use hard power when all other choices are exhausted and in order to drive things to dialogue and diplomacy. In the Eastern Mediterranean, we mobilised in order to demonstrate that our legal rights and our sovereignty are non-negotiable. At the same time, our President Erdogan issued a call for a conference of coastal states of the Mediterranean,” Cavusoglu said.

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