Cyprus Government Spokesman Kyriacos Koushos on Monday welcomed Turkey’s move to order its drill ship Yavuz leave the island’s exclusive economic zone.
He told state radio that this was a step in the right direction in ongoing efforts to diffuse the crisis in Eastern Mediterranean which has been boiling for months.
Philenews had reported that the departure of the Yavuz was likely linked to behind-the-scene diplomatic efforts. Especially by Germany to ease tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The daily also reported that during last week’s long discussions at the European Council, German Chancellor Angela Merkel had asked Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades not to insist on the issue of sanctions and promised him that moves would be made by Turkey.
Among those moves would be that Turkey would not renew its Navtex for activities in the region, and the possible withdrawal of one or both drilling rigs from Cyprus’ EEZ. Yavuz was positioned south west of the island.
At the EU Council meeting, President Anastasiades had been pressing for EU sanctions against Turkey for repeatedly violating Cyprus’ EEZ.
Nicosia had gone as far as to initially veto proposed EU sanctions against Belarus.
But under strong pressure from other EU leaders, Cyprus gave the green light to a compromise that the EU review Turkey’s behaviour in December and impose sanctions then if its provocations did not stop.
Cyprus is divided since a 1974 invasion by turkey which still maintains troops in the northern part of the island. Provocations by Ankara within the EU-member state’s EEZ are frequent.