Turkey has no plans to stop drilling operations near Cyprus
"In early May, our vessel Fatih started drilling to the west off the island of Cyprus on a continental shelf, with our country informing the United Nations about it, under licenses provided to our governments.
"Our drilling vessel Yavuz was sent to the south off the Karpas Peninsula in order to carry out works under a license provided to the government of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus ...
"Turkey maintains its rights on the continental shelf in Eastern Mediterranean and will continue protecting the rights of Cyprus' Turkish community for its shelf", Sputnik cited the statement as saying,
The ministry stressed that Cyprus' membership in the European Union did not mean that the island's Greek community could "usurp the legal rights and interests of Turkish Cypriots".
Two Turkish drillships, Yavuz and Fatih, are currently anchored off the coast of Cyprus in order to drill for oil and gas.
Cyprus and Greece see it as a provocation, and the European Union has called on Turkey to end drilling in Cyprus' exclusive economic zone.
Ankara, meanwhile, believes it has a right to drill for regional natural resources. ■