Cyprus Sees Sea Change in US Attitude, Disregarding Turkey

(AP Photo/Petros Karadjias, FILE)

A United States charge to support Cyprus’ right to explore for energy in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off the coasts in defiance of Turkish threats is being seen as a harbinger of closer ties with Washington and American distancing from Turkey.

Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said it was critical that the US no longer looks at what Turkey should think or do when considering policies over Cyprus, the Cyprus Mail said.

That came after Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchelll told the Greek newspaper Kathimerini that the US was standing firm with Cyprus, which licensed foreign companies to drill for oil and gas, including American energy giant ExxonMobil.

Christodoulides said it was the first time the US had really sent a clear message it wouldn’t try to walk a line between Cyprus and Turkey over energy rights as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had sent warships to the island’s EEZ in a bid to stop drilling.

Mitchell, a day after the Greece -US Strategic Dialogue in Washington, said that the US views Greece, Cyprus and Israel as natural allies in the eastern Mediterranean region and key to energy exploration which supports US national interests too.

Christodoulides said that, “We are working together on the basis of a common approach which is not against any third country, on issues that we believe our cooperation can bring results in the Eastern Mediterranean, but also particularly on our bilateral relations,” in the region.

“I think the message (sent by the US) regarding the exercise of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus in its Exclusive Economic Zone is clear, for the first time in such an explicit way,” he went also added.