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    Joint statement by Turkish parties supporting Turkish Cypriots in energy disputes

    Four parties in the parliament of Turkey signed a joint statement on Thursday supporting Turkish Cypriots in the heightened tensions over hydrocarbon reserves in the eastern Mediterranean, Turkish news site Gazette Duvar reported.

    The Islamist ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its far-right alliance partners the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), as well as the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and opposition nationalist Good Party, released a joint statement in support of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in the recent drilling rights dispute.

    Turkey’s government opposes the Greek Cypriot administration’s plans to exploit hydrocarbon resources around Cyprus, saying these infringe on the rights of the island’s breakaway Turkish republic, which is only recognized by Turkey. Ankara also disputes the exclusive economic zone claimed by Cyprus, saying parts of it fall on Turkey’s continental shelf.

    Turkish surveying vessels have been sent to drill around the island in a move declared “illegal” by Cyprus and the European Union. On Monday the EU hit Turkey with sanctions over the drilling.

    The four parties said they rejected efforts to ignore or violate Turkey’s and Turkish Cypriot’s rights within the frame of international laws in Cyprus by creating a “fait accompli”.

    The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the fifth parliamentary party, did not sign the mutual declaration. However, the party released a statement in support of a recent proposal made by Mustafa Akıncı, the leader of Turkish Cyprus, calling for the joint use of hydrocarbon resources and cooperation between the two sides of the divided island in the search for gas.

    “As long as the two communities in Cyprus (Turkish and Greek Cypriots) do not reach a political consensus, we are in favor of the bilateral halting of hydrocarbon exploration and drilling projects in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus. All the natural resources around the island of Cyprus are common assets of the Turkish and Greek Cypriots in Cyprus and these resources should be used simultaneously and together,” the HDP statement read.

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