We will not have negotiations on the Cyprus issue “just for the sake of it,” the Turkish foreign minister said on Monday.
“On Cyprus, which is a national cause to us, we will not have negotiations just for the sake of it,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told the members of Turkish parliament’s planning and budget committee.
Cavusoglu said Turkey had legitimate rights and benefits in the western and northern maritime zones of Cyprus.
“Our country has taken the necessary measures to protect them,” said Cavusoglu.
“We will continue to protect both our rights and continental shelf and the rights of Turkish Cypriots for which we are guarantor,” he added.
Turkey, as a guarantor nation for the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC), is currently carrying out hydrocarbon exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean with two drilling vessels, Fatih and Yavuz, along with Oruc Reis and Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa seismic vessels in the same region.
Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the TRNC also has rights to the resources in the area.
The Turkish minister called for an end to the recent protests in Iran.
“We hope the recent events in Iran to be over and peace to be restored as soon as possible,” he said.
Cavusoglu noted that Turkey has always been against sanctions on Iran.
Protests broke out across Iran since Friday after the government imposed petrol rationing and raised gasoline prices.
Cavusoglu noted that total of 110 members of Fetullah Terror Organization (FETO) have been deported to Turkey after the defeated coup attempt in 2016.
“The activities of the schools and courses linked to the FETO have been stopped in 38 countries,” said Cavusoglu.
He added: “In 19 countries, the [FETO] schools have been transferred to Turkish Maarif Foundation.”
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup in Turkey on July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
FETO also has a considerable presence outside Turkey, including private educational institutions that serve as a revenue stream for the terrorist group.
Turkey established the Maarif Foundation in 2016 to take over the administration of overseas schools linked to FETO. The foundation also establishes schools and education centers abroad.
Cavusoglu noted that Turkey would continue to back the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
“We never recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea. We also continue our support for the betterment of the situation of Crimean Tatars,” he said.
On May 18, 1944, tens of thousands of Crimean Tatars were deported to Central Asia by Joseph Stalin’s Soviet regime, which accused them of collaborating with occupying Nazi forces.
The Crimean Tatars were deported to various regions within Soviet territory, in particular Siberia and Uzbekistan. Almost half of the exiles, who endured long months of dire living conditions, are thought to have died of starvation and disease.
Ukraine has been wracked by conflict in its eastern regions since March 2014, after Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
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