Armenia urges Turkey to cease all activities within Cyprus EEZ

Cheryl Sanders
July 11, 2019

Turkey contests the rights of Cyprus to explore for gas, sending its own drilling ships to stake claims around the island.

The Turkish foreign ministry rejected on Wednesday statements by European Union officials that Turkish drilling for gas and oil off Cyprus was illegitimate and said the EU could not be an impartial mediator on the Cyprus problem.

"Turkey's drilling activities are fully granted by Turkish Cypriot Authorities, namely the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, within its continental shelf notified to United Nations", the statement said.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that Turkey will press ahead with efforts to safeguard Turkish Cypriots' rights until they are included in the island's decision-making mechanisms, including concerning the sharing of the island's resources.

"The drilling activities of our ship Yavuz are based on legal and legitimate grounds", the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

Cyprus is divided between the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus and a breakaway state set up after the 1974 Turkish occupation, following a coup sponsored by the military government then ruling Greece.

Cyprus has divided its EEZ off its southern coast into 13 blocks, or areas.

Earlier, Egypt had also expressed reservations over Ankara's actions.

The US has also voiced concern over the situation.

It said Greece deserved the title of "Europe's spoiled child" and that European Union member Cyprus had together with Athens for years violated global law and dragged the eastern Mediterranean towards instability.

The EU said Monday the latest move by Turkey was an "unacceptable escalation", having warned Ankara to stop its "illegal" activities or face sanctions.

"But it is important to send the message to Turkey that its actions are not going unobserved by the European Union", he said.

Other reports by iNewsToday