Nicosia.- (GreekNewsOnline, CNA)
The government of Cyprus has strongly condemned the conduct by Turkey of hydrocarbon exploration drilling operations within the Exclusive Economic Zone/continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus, noting that action is already being undertaken at a legal, political and diplomatic level, utilizing all possibilities, and in particular within the framework of the European Union.
Turkey issued a navigational telex, announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus until September 3. “Fatih”, accompanied by three service ships, is located almost 40 nautical miles west of the Akamas peninsula and 83 nautical miles from the Turkish coast. The area is within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus.
Turkish moves were not unexpected, with Nicosia preparing to address them in cooperation with the EU, as the quick reaction on the part of Brussels suggests.
The Cypriot authorities were informed about the itinerary of the Turkish drill ship “Fatih”, which started its course on Thursday midnight, towards an area off the western coast of Cyprus. Nicosia keeps its communication channels open with the five permanent members of the Security Council, EU member states and neighboring countries. The Foreign Minister is also in contact with counterparts from various countries and on Tuesday he travels to Paris for contacts.
“This provocative action by Turkey constitutes a flagrant violation of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus according to International and European Union Law,” a press release issued by the Foreign Ministry on Saturday said.
Furthermore, it noted that “at the same time, it serves to reveal the real intentions of Ankara in relation to the Cyprus question and explains why Turkey has rejected the proposal for an informal meeting, in a ‘Crans Montana format’, to discuss the Cyprus problem. It was precisely in this context precisely that the UN Security Council just recently underlined the need to avoid actions that damage the chances of success and urged the implementation and further development of confidence-building measures.”
The Foreign Ministry also said that fully aware of Turkey’s intentions, it has taken and continues to take all necessary measures to address the situation, in its capacity as a member state of the European Union and the United Nations and as a state that plays an active role in the Eastern Mediterranean.
It was in this vein that the European Council, in its Conclusions of March 2018, called on Turkey “to cease these illegal actions and respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources in accordance with EU and International Law”, recalling at the same time “Turkey`s obligation to respect International Law and good neighbourly relations, and normalize relations with all EU Member States including the Republic of Cyprus”, it added.
Furthermore, the Foreign Ministry noted, in the framework of the EU – Turkey Association Council of March 2019, the EU and its 28 Member States called on Turkey to “refrain from any such illegal actions to which the EU would respond appropriately and in full solidarity with Cyprus”.
In light of the above, action is already being undertaken at a legal, political and diplomatic level, utilizing all possibilities, and in particular within the framework of the European Union, the press release concluded.
Turkey does not facilitate the resumption of the dialogue by sending its drill ship to the Exclusive Economic Zone(EEZ) of the Republic of Cyprus, President of the Republic Nicos Anastadiades has said.
President Anastasiades said that Turkey`s unlawful actions come immediately after the Security Council`s decision or recommendation that any action should be avoided referring to Turkey in order to facilitate what we are all seeking which is the resumption of the dialogue.
He expressed the view that Turley’ s actions can’t help this dialogue and it is time for everyone to understand that unfortunately there are obstacles that reasonably can’t lead to the resumption of dialogue despite our political will.
He also said that the Government has thoroughly examined the issue and actions are being taken and referred to further briefing by the Foreign Minister who has the coordination of all these actions.
President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades is expected to raise at the informal European Council the issue of Turkish provocations in the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), in light of Turkey’s attempt to drill off the island’s western coast.
According to diplomatic sources, Nicosia focuses its efforts within the framework of the European Union, to deal with Ankara’s moves in maritime areas within Cypriot jurisdiction. Nicosia started to plan ahead a long time ago, in a bid to force Ankara pay the cost for its actions.
As CNA learns, President Anastasiades is expected to discuss the issue in detail with his European partners, when he attends the informal European Council in Sibiu, Romania, on May 9.
The Foreign Ministry considers a series of legal, diplomatic and political measures, many of which are already being in force since the end of 2017.
The same sources also note Nicosia’s satisfaction over the recent discussion of the matter at the Security Council, where Cypriot positions were met with understanding.
EU High Representative Federica Mogherini called upon Turkey to refrain from illegal actions in the EEZ of Cyprus, show restraint and respect the sovereign rights of the Republic, warning with EU response “in full solidarity with Cyprus”, in a written statement issued earlier today on Turkey`s intended drilling activities within the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus.
“We express grave concern over Turkey`s announced intention to carry out drilling activities within the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus”, states the High Representative of the EU.
F.Mogherini recalls that ” the European Council strongly condemned Turkey`s continued illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean”.
“In this context, we urgently call on Turkey to show restraint, respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus in its exclusive economic zone and refrain from any such illegal action to which the European Union will respond appropriately and in full solidarity with Cyprus”, states the High Representative.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry follows with concern the ongoing developments about Turkey`s intentions to drill for gas in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off its western coast. In an announcement, issued on Saturday, Cairo calls on Ankara to respect the island’s rights and refrain from any illegal activity.
In particular, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry warns of any unilateral actions that affect security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean region،stressing the necessity of committing to the rules and provisions of international law.
“This provocative action by Turkey constitutes a flagrant violation of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus according to International and European Union Law” the announcement concludes.
In a strongly worded statement, the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the Turkish decision to attempt to proceed to a drilling in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Republic of Cyprus.
“We call on Turkey to immediately stop its illegal actions, to respect the inalienable rights of the sovereign Republic of Cyprus –which are exercised in the interests of the whole Cypriot people–, and to desist from further actions that undermine the regional stability, as well as the perspectives for the re-opening of the dialogue for a just and viable solution to the Cyprus Problem”, states the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Moreover, the Greek government applauds the calm and composed stance of the Republic of Cyprus – a stance which “reaffirms Cyprus’ role as a pillar of stability and credibility in the Eastern Mediterranean”, as the statement says.
The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs recalls the European Council Conclusions on March 2018, as well as and the following EU statements, also declaring that Greece “remains in constant contact and coordination with the Republic of Cyprus and with its European partners and allies, in order to specify further appropriate action”.