As Blockade Remains, Cyprus Fears Turkey Eyeing Aegean Takeover

FILE - Children play on a beach during a warm day, with a drilling platform seen in the background, outside from Larnaca port. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

With Turkish warships continuing to keep an Italian company from reaching Cypriot waters to drill for oil and gas potential, the CEO said it was a diplomatic problem that was out of his hands or control, as Cyprus said it feared Turkey wanted to expand its Aegean presence.

The Turkish ships have continued to occupy Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) with impunity and virtually no reaction from the international community, including the United States with ExxonMobil, also licensed to drill off the island, saying it would proceed despite Turkish warnings.

The European Union that Turkey wants to join, even as it refuses to recognize Cyprus, which is a member, and bars its ships and planes, put out a statement of disapproval but the United Nations, nor NATO, to which Turkey belongs but Cyprus doesn’t, said nothing.

Cypriot negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis, who was his country’s technical talk leader in the unity talks that collapsed in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana when Turkey said it would never remove an army it keeps on the northern third it has occupied since an unlawful 1974 invasion, said Turkey wants a bigger hand on Cyprus and the Aegean.

He said Turkish claims to own the same waters as Cyprus and sendingin warships and an energy research vessel while demanding a share of any energy revenues derived shows an “expansionist bent” undermining the unity hopes, the Cyprus Mail reported.

That came after the CEO of the Italian company Eni, whose rig is being kept from getting to the waters it paid to hunt for oil and gas said there was nothing he could do., Claudio Descalzi said Italy, Europe, France, Cyprus and Turkey were the ones who had to reach a settelement.

“It’s not really under our control,” he told analysts during a conference call on the company’s fourth quarter results, Reuters said. A French company also is licensed to drill near where Eni got its permit and Egypt wants to explore the waters too and warned Turkey but did nothing to back up the tough talk.