President Erdoğan, in a videomessage to the Eastern Mediterranean Workshop, said: “Turkey never opts for tension in the Eastern Mediterranean issue but rather for peace, cooperation, fairness and the establishment of justice. And the way to achieving this is through negotiations on the basis of mutual respect. We believe we can resolve the problems in the Eastern Mediterranean not by excluding one another but by gathering all the regional actors around the same table.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sent a videomessage to the Eastern Mediterranean Workshop held by the International Universities Council and Turkey’s Akdeniz University in Antalya.
“WE CLOSELY FOLLOW THE PROCESS”
“Whether littoral or not, many countries are closely following the developments taking place here and trying to get involved in one way or another,” said the President. “At the core of all the disputes related mainly to energy and centering around Europe, Africa and the Middle East lies the Eastern Mediterranean. According to various scientific researches that are known to the public, there are between 3.5 trillion and 10 trillion cubic meters of extractable natural gas in the region. It is also estimated that the region has 1.5-3.5 billion barrels of oil reserves. No matter what their economic strength is or no matter where they are located, no country in our region can afford to ignore this potential. Especially Turkey, the country with the longest coastline along the Mediterranean, cannot be a mere onlooker to the developments taking place here. In this regard, we are closely following the process in order both to safeguard our own interests and protect the rights of our Turkish Cypriot brothers and sisters.”
“WE TAKE A FIRM STANCE AGAINST THE PIRATE MENTALITY SEEKING TO STEAL AWAY OUR RIGHTS”
Stressing that Turkey will not accept plans and maps that try to confine it to Antalya shores, President Erdoğan said: “We have already told our counterparts we will not give in to threats or blackmails and will not allow expansionism. We do not seek to usurp anyone’s rights. We just take a firm stance against the pirate mentality seeking to steal away our rights.”
The developments in the last few months reflect Turkey’s resolve about the Eastern Mediterranean issue, underlined the President, and went on to say: “Turkey never opts for tension in the Eastern Mediterranean issue but rather for peace, cooperation, fairness and the establishment of justice. And the way to achieving this is through negotiations on the basis of mutual respect. We believe we can resolve the problems in the Eastern Mediterranean not by excluding one another but by gathering all the regional actors around the same table.”
Emphasizing the importance of giving a chance to diplomacy in order to achieve progress on the path to a lasting solution in the Mediterranean, President Erdoğan stated: “That is so because diplomacy and negotiation is the shortest and safest path that would bring us together around a common denominator. Turkey has maintained its equanimity since 2003 despite the spoiled acts of Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration. We preserve the same conciliatory stance of ours today as well.”
“NO MORE INJUSTICES SHOULD BE DONE TO THE TURKISH CYPRIOTS AND TURKEY UNDER THE PRETEXT OF UNION SOLIDARITY”
Stressing the need for the EU to recover from its current strategic blindness as soon as possible, President Erdoğan said the Greek Cypriot administration and Greece should not be allowed to use the EU as a battering ram in the Eastern Mediterranean.
“No more injustices should be done to the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey under the pretext of union solidarity,” warned President Erdoğan, and added: “Our proposal for a conference to be held with the participation of all the littoral states in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Turkish Cypriots are still on the table. We hope our counterparts will not respond to the hand we extend. I call on all our Mediterranean neighbors, particularly Greece, to stop seeing this issue as a zero-sum game. I believe we can find a win-win formula safeguarding everyone’s rights if acted with commonsense, sincerity and wisdom.”