Nicosia is mounting diplomatic efforts, after Turkey dispatched its drill ship “Yavuz” in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Republic of Cyprus for illegal drilling activities.
he issue will be discussed during a video conference of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers, on Wednesday, and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades is expected to raise the issue with his counterparts at the European Council, on Thursday.
As CNA learns, diplomatic activity on the matter continues, with Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides already speaking with his Greek counterpart, Nikos Dendias, ahead of Wednesday’s video conference with EU Foreign Ministers.
On Thursday, April 23, members of the European Council are expected to attend a video conference, where President Anastasiades will raise with his counterparts the issue of the imminent illegal drilling operation, announced by Ankara.
This is the sixth time Turkey attempts to drill within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus, this time in an area that covers part of exploration blocks 6 and 7, which have been licensed to European companies ENI and TOTAL.
A military source told CNA that “Yavuz” reached its target in block 6 at 1.00 am (local time) a little after midnight and continues to be escorted by a Turkish frigate. One of its support vessels, “Orhan Bey”, is also in the area, while two more vessels are expected to join them, “Ertugrul” Bey and “Osman Bey”, in line with an unauthorized Turkish navtex that commits the area for drilling operations until July 18.
At the same time, Turkish research vessels continue their activities off the coast of Cyprus, with Barbaros sailing in the maritime area to the east of the island and Oruc Reis to the west.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
The Republic of Cyprus condemned on Monday Turkey’s imminent attempted illegal drilling operation within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus, in an area lawfully delimited by means of the 2003 EEZ Delimitation Agreement between the Republic of Cyprus and the Arab Republic of Egypt, in accordance with international law.
A statement by the Presidency of the Republic called the announced Turkish drilling a new illegal “act of piracy”, which constitutes a further severe violation of the sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the Republic of Cyprus, contrary to international law.
The Republic of Cyprus will continue to defend its interests and rights using all legal means at its disposal, on the basis of international and European law, the announcement concluded.