NICOSIA – It hasn't worked yet but Cyprus has again appealed to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to stop what it said was Turkey’s unlawful drilling for oil and gas in the island’s sovereign waters.
Two letters were sent Guterres by Cyprus’ permanent representative to the UN Andreas Mavroyiannis after Turkey submitted geographical coordinates claiming parts of the island’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ.)
Turkey has research vessels in the area, near where the legitimate government had licensed foreign companies for energy hunts, which are being pulled back during the ongoing COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.
Mavroyiannis stressed Cyprus rejected the Turkish map and a chart “which clearly encroaches upon the maritime zones of Cyprus, as well as of other coastal States in the region,” reported The Cyprus Mail.
“Turkey’s unlawful claims extend to maritime areas where it could not have any rights whatsoever under international law and purport to “delimit” maritime boundaries with continental States with which it has no opposite or adjacent coasts and whose maritime areas do not, and could not, osculate,” he added.
That was in reference to a maritime deal Turkey signed with Libya dividing the seas between them, unrecognized by any other government and condemned by Cyprus as well as Greece after Turkey said it would also drill off the island of Crete.
Mavroyiannis denounced what he said is “an unlawful instrument that fabricates a non-existent maritime boundary between Turkey and Libya at the expense of the rights and interests of third states”.
“The unlawful operations of Turkey in different parts of Cyprus’ maritime zones have been uninterrupted since their launch on 4 May 2019,” Mavroyiannis added including a map showing all the drillings undertaken by Turkey in the past 12 months within the maritime zones of Cyprus, “as well as Turkey’s outlandish claims therein.”
Turkey’s actions, he stressed, “are a direct violation of Cyprus’ sovereign rights and jurisdiction under international law,” but the UN has refused to intervene and allowed Turkey to continue its operations without any sanctions.
The European Union condemned the drilling but issued mild sanctions which has only emboldened Turkey to keep pressing on as the letters noted that, “Turkey continues to militarise the maritime space all around Cyprus and to illegally conduct unlawful seismic surveys within Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone.”