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    Türkiye to continue to protect rights of Turkish Cypriots over energy resources: Foreign minister

    Türkiye strongly supports 2-state solution based on sovereign equality, says Mevlut Cavusoglu

    Türkiye will continue to protect the rights and interests of Turkish Cypriots to the region’s energy resources, the country’s foreign minister said Sunday.

    “We have protected and continue to protect the rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriots in Cyprus Island and its surroundings over energy resources,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Twitter.

    Turkish Cypriots

    Greece has disputed Türkiye’s current energy exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, trying to box in Turkish maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast.

    Türkiye – the country with the longest coastline on the Mediterranean – has sent out drill ships to explore for energy on its continental shelf, saying that both Türkiye and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have rights in the region.

    Dialogue for sharing these resources fairly would be a win-win for all sides, say Turkish officials.

    Underlining that the federation solution model, which has been tried for half a century, is no longer appropriate, Cavusoglu said Türkiye strongly supports the “two-state solution based on sovereign equality.”

    Türkiye ensured that the TRNC was accepted as an “observer member” of the Organization of Turkic States, he said, adding the TRNC was admitted to an international organization with its constitutional name for the first time.

    Cavusoglu also expressed support for the opening of the coastal area of Maras, or Varosha in Greek, which had virtually become a ghost town, as it remained cut off from the world for 47 years.

    A portion of the region – just about 3.5% of its total area – was reopened in October 2020. Maras was abandoned after a 1984 UN Security Council resolution that said only its original inhabitants could resettle in the town.

    – Decades-long dispute

    Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement.

    Ethnic attacks starting in the early 1960s forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety.

    In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece’s annexation of the island led to Türkiye’s military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. As a result, the TRNC was founded in 1983.

    It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Türkiye, Greece and the UK.

    The Greek Cypriot administration entered the European Union in 2004, the same year Greek Cypriots thwarted a UN plan to end the longstanding dispute.

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