Turkey says 'no compromise' on East Med stance

Turkey said on Thursday that it would not compromise on its rights and interests in the eastern Mediterranean and urged the European Union to respects Turkey's and Turkish Cypriots' interests in the region, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

"It was once again stated that the Turkish nation will not make concessions on the protection of their rights, interests on land, sea or in the air from now on as it has been until today," Ankara said after a 4-hour National Security Council meeting chaired by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Turkey also the EU to respect its "principled stance" on the eastern Mediterranean, as well as the rights and interests of Turkish Cypriots.

The eastern Mediterranean dispute is the latest in an ongoing territorial spat between Turkey, Greece and Cyprus over offshore energy resources. Greece and Cyprus say that the islands have their own continental shelves granting them extensive exploration rights, a claim Turkey contests.

"Turkey is always in favour of dialogue on every platform for fair sharing of natural resources in the region," Ankara said.

Relations between Turkey and Greece have deteriorated sharply after Turkey sent the Oruç Reis to a disputed area between Cyprus and the Greek island of Crete on Aug. 10, prompting harsh criticism from the EU. Athens responded to the move by sending naval and air units to shadow the vessel and conducting military exercises with Cyprus and France in the area, creating an armed standoff at risk of escalating into a direct confrontation.

Ankara, which does not recognise Cyprus as a state, claims half of the country’s exclusive economic zone on behalf of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and has repeatedly carried out warship-escorted offshore drilling in its environs. Turkey is the only country to recognise the administration in the north.

"All institutions, especially the European Union and the states involved in the disputes are urged to respect our country's principled stance and rights and interests of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” Ankara said.