Frustrated Cyprus Again Appeals to UN Over Turkish Drilling


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

Ignored repeatedly by the United Nations after protesting Turkish incursions into its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ,) Cyprus’ legitimate government has sent the coordinates of its waters where Turkey is drilling for oil and gas.

The data shows the EEZ and the continental shelf but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has shown he intends to forge ahead with drilling after his warships weren’t able to keep out foreign companies from the waters, including the US energy giant ExxonMobil which reported a major gas find.

Cypriot Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides said President Nicos Anastasiades will be convening the National Council to discuss the latest Turkish actions off Cyprus and that the coordinates would also be published in the government gazette.

Christodoulides said that Cyprus, a member of the European Union that Turkey wants to join while refusing to recognize the government and barring Cypriot ships and planes, has contacted bloc officials about Turkey violating sovereign waters and to plan measures.

Cypriot authorities have launched procedures to have an international arrest warrant issued for the crew of Turkey’s Fatih drillship off Cyprus, said Kathimerini but Erdogan said he has no intention of backing off and has defied Cyprus, the EU, UN and the United States.

The Israeli Ambassador to Cyprus Sammy Revel said his country, working with Cyprus over energy deals, also objects to Turkish drilling.

“Israel is following with serious concern recent steps taken by Turkey in Cyprus EEZ, off its western coast,” Revel wrote on Twitter.

“Israel reiterated its full support and solidarity with Cyprus in exercising its sovereign rights in its EEZ and expresses its opposition to any attempt to violate these rights,” he also added.

The US State Department called on Turkey to reverse its decision to begin drilling operations off Cyprus, describing it as “highly provocative” and saying it “risks raising tensions in the region,” but so far Turkey has been subjected to press release denunciations and no real sanctions over what Cyprus said is unlawful activity.

1 Comment

  1. Most of the countries in the Eastern Mediterranean have found a way to cooperate based on international law as defined through the convention of the seas. Turkey has not signed this convention as it is not in its best interest. The EEZs as currently defined deprive it of the major gas finds so being the largest country in the region and possessing a huge military… why not send a few drillships to that area and take whatever international law is not giving it?

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