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UK Cypriots call upon Foreign Secretary Raab to act against Turkey’s illegal drilling

A number of UK Cypriots have written to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab asking for the British government’s support in stopping Turkey’s illegal activity in the Republic of Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The 16 co-signatories note in their letter that Turkey’s illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean related to the energy resources in the region are strongly condemned by the international community.

“We find these extremely concerning as this can only lead to the destabilisation of the whole area,” adds the letter.

The UK Cypriots highlight Turkey’s latest threat to carry out illegal drilling within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus. “Turkey is provocatively ignoring the repeated calls to terminate this illegal activity in the Cyprus EEZ and now attempts to conduct new illegal drilling in the southern EEZ continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus,” they write.

“With these dangers in mind we ask for both yourself and the British Government’s help and support to stop Turkey’s illegal action in our motherland country Cyprus which is still divided and under illegal Turkish occupation since the illegal invasion of 1974.

“We call upon our British Government to also increase their efforts and influence on Turkey to recommence new negotiations for a workable and peaceful solution to the Cyprus problem, without any guarantor powers and foreign troops,” add the 16 UK Cypriots in their letter to Mr Raab.

They conclude by expressing their sadness for the loss of lives due to the coronavirus pandemic and they bring to the Foreign Secretary’s attention the estimation that more than 300 Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in the Uk have passed away due to Covid-19.

The letter is signed by Doros Partasides, Antonis Savvides, Andreas Tambourides, Elissa Xenophontos-Ellinas, Spyros Papacharalambous, Leonidas Leonidou, George Pippas, Nikos Savvides, Tasos Poyatzis, Seraphim Diakou, Stella Dinenis, Yiannis Kouvaros, Spyros Neophytou, Elias Dinenis, Pantelis Demosthenous and Marie Nicholsby.

It has also been brought to the attention of 23 Conservative parliamentarian and the UK High Commissioner in Nicosia.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Turkey has ignored numerous UN resolutions calling for the withdrawal of the Turkish troops and respect of the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus.

Turkish drill ship “Yavuz” arrived last April in the exclusive economic zone (ΕΕΖ) of Cyprus, after Ankara announced another attempt to drill a well in blocks licensed to European companies. This is the 6th 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 ENI and TOTAL.

In a statement on May 15, EU Foreign Ministers deplored the fact that Turkey has not yet responded to EU calls to cease such activities and reiterated their call on Ankara to show restraint, refrain from such actions, and respect the sovereignty and sovereign rights of Cyprus, in accordance with international law. EU Foreign Ministers also reaffirmed previous Council and European Council conclusions, notably those of June 2019 and October 2019 on Turkey’s continued illegal activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.


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