Hitting Back at US, Turkish Defense Chief Warns No Drilling Off Cyprus


FILE - An undated photo of the the Saipem 12000 drilling floater. (Saipem via AP)

With the United States warning against interference in drilling for oil and gas off Cyprus where the American energy giant ExxonMobil is operating, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar nevertheless warned Cyprus – and Greece – not to encroach on his country’s interests.

Turkey’s Anadolu news agency reported that Akar, following Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other Turkish officials – including a rival who suggested a military response would be necessary – declaring that Turkey has the right to hunt for oil and gas in parts of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) that Ankara doesn’t recognize.

Akar said that Turkey will continue to safeguard its rights and interests both in the Aegean Sea and the eastern Mediterranean where the prospects of lucrative energy finds are upping the ante between the countries seeking riches there.

Showing more signs of frays with Turkey, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell told Kathimerini that Cyprus has a right to hunt for energy in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and warned against any attempt to obstruct it.

That came after the Dec. 14 first US-Greece Strategic Dialogue in Washington where President Donald Trump’s leading official on Greek-Turkish affairs and the Eastern Mediterranean said the US regards Greece, as well as Cyprus and Israel, as essential partners in the region.

“Greece, Cyprus and Israel are very important countries for the US because they are stable, democratic, western allies in a region where you don’t find a lot of stable, democratic partners,” Mitchell said, adding that it was a “natural step” for the US to deepen its cooperation with all three countries. “Our line has been consistent. Cyprus is a sovereign country and just like any other sovereign country it has resources and can develop those resources,” Mitchell said.

Turkey’s view “is a minority of one versus the rest of the world,” he said. “The rest of the world has a very clear, straightforward view that the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus is grounded in international law.”

With Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other Turkish officials escalating their rhetoric and suggesting military force could be used – and as they complained the US wants to build a military presence on the island where Turkey has been occupying the northern third since an unlawful 1974 invasion – Mitchell said the US would “not take a friendly view to any kind of harassment in Cyprus waters especially when US ships are involved,” referring to Turkish warships earlier this year driving off a vessel chartered by Italy’s ENI company.


  1. The words of US Assistant Secretary of State Mitchell appear to be supportive of the Greek position. But what will be the US response if Turkey uses any military force?

    1. Well , John …we should get that answer ..if or when …. Turkey attacks the kurdistan position in Manjib, Syria …and part ot the U.S coalition forces occupying parts of Syria…in violation of International laws!

      You see..the Kurds…are part of the coalition U.S forces …because they have been promised by the United States to provide them with part of Syria…as their payment for fighting in Syria…. and will then like Cyprus and Greece…be merely another satellite republic with U.S. bases .to loot oil and gas from Syria …and secure land to put a pipeline thru Syria from Israel!

      Unfortunately… Turkey…will not tolerate ..who they consider to be terrorist …and connected to their brothers in Turkey! Hence, they have been demanding that the U.S. launch these guys out of the Area ..they have stolen from Syria!

      Imagine ..that Turkey and ally of the United States in overthrowing the government of Syria and even shot down a Russian plane…is now allies with Russia and Syria ..to remove these terrorist from US held areas in Idlib, and Manjib Syria!

      Additionally, it will not only be Turkey…they will be figting. but ultimately Russia ..who has given Turkey some time …to remove their terrorist buddies from Idlib …which has stalled ….and consequently, the U.S. who also is responsible for their terrorist proxy armies of ISIS and Al Queda…will be shortly , have to obstuct the liberatino of Idlib by waging war with Russia and Syria!

      So be patient John…… you will find out …what this demented U.S. government has created …based on their criminal foreign policies ..which Turkey , as a member of Nato…has enjoyed!

      Just think..if relations between the U.S. and Russia …were good …Edrogan would not be able to play his games! Keep in mind ..Russia as a member of the Security Council …has made it very clear ..that U.S military buildup in Cyprus ….in going to have serious consequences…and frankly. thanks to the U.S foreign policies ..will hand over Turkey. to Russia…and continue the degragation of the empire in the Middle East .

    2. You said “if relations between the U.S. and Russia …were good …Edrogan would not be able to play his games!”

      That is what I have been saying as well. Sadly, both the US and Russia, feeling conflict with one another, seek to have Turkey as a buddy. So the US excuses the Cyprus partition and might excuse future mischief in Syria, while Russia plays around with pipeline projects through Turkey and gets friendly with Erdogan. The murder of the Russian pilots in 2015 is quickly forgotten.

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