Turkey will not bow to threats and blackmailing over the Eastern Mediterranean, the Turkish president reiterated on Monday, stressing that the county will not allow any "imperialist expansionism" on the sea, either, APA reports citing Anadolu Agency.
"Turkey will not accept plans and maps that aim to confine country to its coasts off Antalya," Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the Workshop on Eastern Mediterranean at Akdeniz University via a video message.
He also said that any plans and maps excluding Turkey from its rights on the Eastern Mediterranean are "unacceptable".
Recalling his offer to hold an international conference on the Eastern Mediterranean, Erdogan said that related issues will only be solved by bringing all the actors in the region together around the same table.
"Our country has never sided with tension in the Eastern Mediterranean issue, but rather with peace, cooperation, fairness, and the establishment of justice," he said.
Diplomacy, negotiation for a permanent solution
Stressing diplomacy for a permanent solution, Erdogan said: "Diplomacy and negotiation are the shortest and most secure way that will bring us together on a common ground."
Noting that Turkey has kept its calmness despite all the spoiled acts of Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration since 2003, the leader vowed that Turkey will preserve its stance which it has adopted so far.
"We are following the developments very closely for both to guarantee our interests and to protect the rights of our brothers in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus [TRNC]," he said, adding the EU should not be unfair to Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots asserting union solidarity.
"I believe that by acting with sincerity and common sense, we can find a win-win-based formula that protects everyone's rights," Erdogan concluded.
Amid recent tensions in the region, Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration have increased their pressure on other EU members to impose sanctions on Turkey during the upcoming EU leaders summit.
Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, has rejected maritime boundary claims of Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration and stressed that these excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.
Ankara has sent several drillships in the past weeks to explore for energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting its own rights in the region, as well as those of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Turkish officials have repeatedly stressed that Ankara is in favor of resolving all outstanding problems in the region through international law, good neighborly relations, dialogue, and negotiation.