New Turkish drilling off Cyprus condemned by EU
The EU said a second effort by Turkey to drill for oil and gas in seas off Cyprus was an “inappropriate escalation,” warning Ankara to halt its “illegal” operations or risk sanctions.
“Turkey’s stated purpose of undertaking a fresh exploration project illegally west of Cyprus is of grave concern,” EU senior diplomat Federica Mogherini said in a declaration.
Turkey’s first digging efforts in June led EU officials to caution Ankara of “directed and suitable” penalties if it did not halt its “illegal operations.”
According to the EU declaration on Monday, the European Council is contemplating “suitable steps” and will react “in complete solidarity with Cyprus” in the context of this further research.
Mogherini reiterated the call to the Turkish authorities to refrain from such actions, to act in a spirit of good neighbourliness and to respect the sovereignty and sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus under international law.
Ankara sent a second ship— the Yavuz — for exploratory operations off western Cyprus after its Fatih vessel joined the island’s exclusive financial area in the east in May. “This second scheduled excavation operation… is another unreasonable escalation that violates Cyprus’s independence,” Mogherini stated.
Rich natural gas reserves are thought to be the region close the island, causing a competition between Turkey and Cyprus that has ramped up discovery in the western Mediterranean.
Hours previously, in a declaration from the Cypriot government, Cyprus endorsed the activities of Turkey “in the highest words.”
It said the second attempt was taking place off the peninsula of Karpas, in the northeast of the island, and amounted to “an escalation of continued violations by Turkey.
The state of Cyprus said, “Turkey remains to breach global legislation… disregarding the calls of the European Union and the international community.” Ankara claims that its activities abide by international law and that it is digging inside its continental shelf.
Cyprus said that only a resumption of discussions directed at achieving a compromise resolution between the Turkish-held south and the internationally recognised regime in Nicosia could settle the conflict.
Since 1974, the island has been split between the Republic of Cyprus and the southern region under Turkish military command, created after a Turkish invasion in reaction to a coup supported by a Greek military junta.
Cyprus provided arrest warrants for Fatih’s staff employees, suspected the vessel of breaching the sovereign territory of the republic.
Turkey opposes Cyprus ‘ unilateral exploration activities and says that Turkish Cypriots have rights to share offshore resources on the island.