Claims at Greek, Egyptian, Cypriot leaders’ summit 'unwarranted,' says Ankara

A spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry has said "unwarranted" claims were made against Turkey during a joint meeting of Cypriot, Egyptian and Greek leaders last week focusing on the delineation of the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of Greece and Egypt, Greek Kathimerini newspaper reported.

"We are dismayed by the unwarranted claims against Turkey in the Joint Declaration published following the closure of Greece-Egypt-Greek Cypriot Administration trilateral summit meeting held on Oct.10, in Elounda, a city in the island of Crete, Greece," Kathimerini quoted Hami Aksoy as saying.

The leaders of Egypt, Greece and Cyprus convened last week on the Greek island of Crete on Wednesday, agreeing to establish a Cyprus-based executive secretariat.

The statement accused Greek Cypriots of committing "atrocities" while describing Turkey's invasion of the island in 1974 as a "peace operation," Kathimerini said.

Aksoy stressed that Turkey would resolutely continue to preserve its rights and interests while emphasising Turkish Cypriots co-ownership of the island.

Turkey is the only country to recognise the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, and has supported its government since the island was split into two halves following a Turkish invasion in 1974 provoked by a Greek-backed coup against the Cypriot government.

Aksoy said "those who are taking steps in the region to the detriment of the legitimate rights and interests" of Turkey and the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus "and those who try to ignore Turkey in the region, will never achieve their goals."

Tensions over the exploitation of natural resources believed to be present under seas around Cyprus have peaked over the past year with Turkey seeking to block gas exploration by the Greek Cypriot government with warships and military exercises, prompting criticism from Greece, the European Union and the United States.