The US and Qatar companies will remain south of Turkiye's declared continental shelf and jurisdiction, says Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Ankara accuses Greek-administered Cyprus of violating its continental shelf by awarding the controversial licence.
Ankara accuses Greek-administered Cyprus of violating its continental shelf by awarding the controversial licence. (Reuters Archive)

The United States and Qatar have assured Turkiye that Exxon Mobil and Qatar Petroleum will stay out of Turkiye's continental shelf in the Eastern Mediterranean after the companies were given an energy exploration license in disputed waters.

"No matter who they are, they cannot enter our continental shelf without our permission," Turkiye's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told parliament during his ministry's budget talks on Monday.

"Both countries - the United States and Qatar - have guaranteed that they will not enter our continental shelf," he said, adding the companies will remain south of Turkiye's declared continental shelf.

Earlier this month, Ankara accused Greek-administered Cyprus of violating its continental shelf by awarding the licence, saying it will not allow unauthorised exploration in its jurisdiction. 

The hydrocarbon exploration license was awarded in "Section 5" of Greek-administered Cyprus' self-declared exclusive economic zone, which Turkiye says overlaps with its own continental shelf.

Turkiye has rejected the maritime boundary claims of Greece and Greek-administered Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean, underlining that these excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of both Turkiye and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

Decades-long dispute

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

Ethnically-targeted 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 Turkiye's military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence.

As a result, the TRNC was founded in 1983.

TRNC's President Ersin Tatar says that it has become inevitable for Turkish Cypriots to maintain sovereign rights on the island, adding it is no longer possible to agree on a federal structure in Cyprus.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies