NICOSIA — After igniting tension in Greek waters where it's planning to hunt for energy, Turkey stoked it further by sending a drill ship off the coast of Cyprus where it had been drilling before.
Turkey rejected an offer from Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades to give 30 percent of potentially lucrative revenues of energy finds to the Turkish-Cypriot side occupying the northern third since an unlawful 1974 invasion.
His legitimate government, a member of the European Union that Turkey has been trying to join since 2005 while refusing to recognize Cyprus and barring its ships and planes, has licensed foreign companies to look for oil and gas.
Turkey doesn't recognize parts of Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the EU has imposed only mild sanctions against officials from Turkey's state-run petroleum company and exempting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
This "unravels the dimensions of an insidious alliance that is being attempted to be forged against Turkey," the Cypriot Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“No matter what, Turkey will resolutely continue to protect both her and Turkish Cypriots' rights in the Eastern Mediterranean stemming from international law. No alliance of malice will manage to prevent this,”it added.
In a report, Al Jazeera noted that Cyprus has an agreement with the American company, Exxon Mobil, France's Total and Italy's Eni oil and natural gas exploration rights near an area where Turkey wants to drill.
"The escalation of the Turkish provocation is directed against Europe and the response must be escalated accordingly," Greek Foreign Minister Nikolaos Dendias said after meeting with Cypriot foreign chief Nicos Christodoulides in Nicosia to talk.