The Eastern Mediterranean region can be transformed into a zone of stability, but Turkey is upsetting the balance of power in the region, said Cyprus Defence Minister Charalambos Petrides.
He was addressing the opening ceremony for the 4th Regional Strategic Leadership Programme in Nicosia.
In his remarks, Petrides said the region has been at the heart of significant conflicts and geostrategic developments due to its location at the crossroads of three continents.
“Turkey’s illegal and provocative seismic surveys and drilling activities in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Republic of Cyprus, Turkey’s illegal activities in the Continental Shelf of Greece, do not comply with international and European law.
“They constitute an immediate risk to the stability of the entire region with unknown consequences.
“The Eastern Mediterranean is of cardinal importance for regional security with wider significance for the global security system.
Petrides said Cyprus had maintained long-standing historical ties of friendship, cooperation, and mutual understanding with all neighbouring countries, except for Turkey for well–known reasons.
“The Eastern Mediterranean region can be transformed into a zone of stability, growth and prosperity if all parties acknowledge that our common interest is to work together, to create conditions fostering maritime and energy security.
“We consider the United Kingdom a key partner in this effort to address common threats and security, and we believe it has an important role to undertake, as a country with a long-standing tradition and influence on the international scene, but also as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council”.
The leadership course was organised by the UK’s Defence Academy and Cranfield University.
It constitutes one of the various activities included in the Bilateral Defence Cooperation Programme between Cyprus and the United Kingdom.
“Undoubtedly, the two countries have achieved significant progress in the last years in enhancing our bilateral cooperation in the fields of defence and security.”