News Local US State Department reports Turkish interference in Cyprus’ EEZ

US State Department reports Turkish interference in Cyprus’ EEZ

The US State Department has issued a report and submitted it before Congress committees on Turkish interference in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Republic of Cyprus from April 19, 2017 to January 17, 2020.

The report was submitted based on the Eastern Mediterranean Security committee  and Energy Partnership Act of 2019.

It clearly states that the United States does not recognize the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ and therefore does not recognize any maritime claims it has asserted or any claims asserted by Turkey on its behalf, CNA said on Wednesday.

“Not all of the examples provided would constitute interference in efforts by the Republic of Cyprus to explore and exploit natural resources, but, taken together, they depict rising tensions in the region,” the report also said.

“It should also be noted that some of the Turkish activities occurred in parts of the Republic of Cyprus` claimed EEZ over which Turkey also asserts a maritime claim. Where the lawful maritime claims of two or more countries overlap, it is for those countries to resolve their maritime boundaries by agreement on the basis of international law in order to achieve an equitable solution,” it added.

The State Department also said that in instances where the United States has had concerns regarding specific Turkish actions, it has engaged privately with Turkey as well as issued press statements.

The report on Turkish interference in Cyprus’ EEZ lists 18 incidents over a period of about 33 months. The information in the report is based largely on material generated by the government of Turkey, including certain notifications issued by Turkey, known as navigational telexes (NAVTEX).

“It is the position of the Department that energy resource development in the Eastern Mediterranean should foster cooperation, increase dialogue between Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities and among regional neighbours, and provide a foundation for durable energy security and economic prosperity,” it also said.

“The Department encourages discussion between the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities on issues related to hydrocarbon development, including the equitable sharing of revenue,” it added.

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.

Ankara sent on several occasions its seismic research vessel ‘Barbaros’ to Cyprus’ EEZ, following the Republic of Cyprus’ decision, in 2011, to start exploratory offshore drilling.

After May 2019, Turkey caused a stir by sending consecutively two drill ships, “Fatih” and “Yavuz”, to conduct unauthorised drilling activities of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean, at times in areas licensed by Cyprus to international energy companies.

The European Council reaffirmed its full solidarity with Cyprus, regarding the respect of its sovereignty and sovereign rights in accordance with international law and in February 2020, placed two persons under restrictive measures, in relation to Turkey`s unauthorised drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.

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