Ankara, Turkey – President Erdogan stated that EU shouldn’t be unfair to Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that the European Union should not be unfair to Turkey and should not allow itself to be used by Greece and Greek Cypriots as a “battering ram.”

Erdogan reiterated that Turkey is ready to negotiate for a permanent solution in the Eastern Mediterranean, but he stressed that he would not accept “plans and maps aiming to confine Antalya to its coastline.”

“The European Union (EU) should get rid of the strategic blindness it has fallen into as soon as possible and should not allow it to be used by the Greek segment and Greece as a ‘coach’ in the Eastern Mediterranean. Our proposal for a conference, which will include all the countries of the region bordering the eastern Mediterranean and the Turkish Cypriots, is still on the table. We expect our interlocutors not to leave this hand in the air, which Turkey has extended,” he said. “We have made it clear that our country will not accept plans and maps aimed at imprisoning us on the beaches of Antalya,” Erdogan said, adding that we will not give in to threats and blackmail, we will not allow imperialist expansionism to our interlocutors.”

President Erdogan sent video message to the Eastern Mediterranean workshop organized by the International Council of universities and Akdeniz University. Erdogan noted that issues related to the eastern Mediterranean, along with Turkey, form the priority agenda of many states and academic organizations around the world, and said that many countries, whether they have a Mediterranean coast or not, closely monitor the events that occur here and try to intervene in some way.

In recent years, especially in the energy sector in Europe, Africa and the Middle East-axis, all located in the Eastern Mediterranean, where the focus of discussions to the public, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who reflected on scientific research in the region is between 3.5 trillion and 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas that can be extracted. In the same way, it is calculated that there are between 1.5 and 3.5 billion barrels of oil reserves in the region,” he shared the information.

‘It is not possible for Turkey to monitor developments from the tribune’

Erdogan stressed that no country in the region, regardless of its economic strength and position, can ignore this potential, saying: “especially like Turkey, a country with the longest coastline in the Mediterranean Sea cannot watch the developments here from the tribune. We follow the process very closely both to guarantee our own interests and to protect the rights of our brothers and sisters in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. We have made it clear that our country will not accept plans and maps aimed at imprisoning us in the beaches of Antalya. We have expressed to our interlocutors that we will not give in to threats and blackmail, and that we will not allow imperialist expansionism. We are not seeking to usurp anyone’s rights, law, we are just taking a steep stance against the pirate mentality that is trying to take our rights away from us,” he said.

‘Diplomacy must be given a chance for a lasting solution’

“Our country is never in favor of tension on the Eastern Mediterranean issue; it is in favor of peace, cooperation, justice and the establishment of justice. The path to this is through negotiation based on mutual respect. We believe that we can solve the problems in the Mediterranean not by excluding each other, but by bringing all the actors in the region together around the same table. If it is desirable to distance itself from a permanent solution in the Mediterranean, diplomacy should be given a chance. Because diplomacy and negotiation are the shortest, most guaranteed way to bring us together in the common denominator,” he said.

Erdogan stressed that Turkey has maintained its composure despite all the waywardness of Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration since 2003 on this issue, noting that the same conciliatory attitude has been maintained today.

‘the EU must get rid of the blindness it has fallen into’

“The EU must get rid of the strategic blindness it has fallen into as soon as possible and not allow it to be used by Greek Cypriots and Greece as a ‘battering ram’ in the Eastern Mediterranean. In the name of union solidarity; no more injustice should be done to the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey. Our proposal for a conference, which will include all the countries of the region bordering the eastern Mediterranean and the Turkish Cypriots, is still on the table. We expect our interlocutors not to leave this hand in the air, which Turkey has extended. I call on all countries in the Mediterranean, especially Greece, to stop treating this issue as a ‘zero-sum game’. I believe that when acted with common sense, sincerity and sanity, we can find a win-win-based formula that protects everyone’s rights,” he said.