The Turkish president said in a message marking the 98th anniversary of Turkey's independence that his country is determined to defend its rights in the eastern Mediterranean.

Iran Press/Asia: "We will continue to strive for our rights within the framework of international law and bilateral agreements, especially in the eastern Mediterranean," Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday, referring to oil and gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar also stressed that the struggle of the Turkish nation to maintain its independence and sovereignty is a ray of hope for all oppressed nations.

Cyprus' attempt as a member of the European Union to discover and extract natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean has provoked Turkish protests.

However, Turkey insists Greece and other countries deny Ankara's right to explore for energy in the Mediterranean.

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