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Turkey’s Cyprus Ambassador Says Drill Ships Will Stay

October 29, 2019

Turkish energy vessels looking for oil and gas in Cyprus’ sovereign waters aren’t going to leave despite calls from the legitimate government, the United States, Greece and soft sanctions imposed by the European Union, Turkish Ambassador Burak Ozzugergin said.

In an interview with Kathimerini, he said that position won’t change until Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades agrees to let Turkish-Cypriots take part in the licensing of foreign companies drilling in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ,) parts of which Turkey doesn’t recognize. Anastasiades’ offer to share 30 percent of energy revenues was rejected.

Ozugergin claimed that the drillships Fatih and Yavuz were actually in waters belong to Turkey although they are off Cyprus, saying that the “final maritime boundaries” cannot be settled for the island-state without a “political settlement.”

The riff has set aside any hopes for now of resuming reunification talks that collapsed in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said they would never remove a 35,000-strong standing army on the northern third Turkey has occupied since an unlawful 1974 invasion and as they demanded the right to militarily intervene when they want.

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