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Turkey’s Foreign Minister Keeps Up Cyprus Tough Talk Over Energy

February 6, 2018

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, stepping up tension in the Aegean, said his country is “prepared to take all necessary measures” to protect the its alleged rights over the seas and continental shelf it claims to own, including off Cyprus, where international companies are drilling for oil and gas.

In an interview with Kathimerini, he said that Block 6 of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) belongs to Turkey and that there is no sea border between Greece and Cyprus as Turkey does not recognize the Law of the Seas nor Cyprus.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sent research vessels and a warship before into Cypriot sovereign waters and demanded a share of any potential find as the legitimate government of President Nicos Anastasiades is stepping up the energy hunt.

“After thorough examination, we have clearly stated that the agreement violates Turkey’s continental shelf in areas falling beyond longitude 32Γ 16’ 18” west. This agreement is therefore null and void, according to international law,” he said, without noting Turkey doesn’t accept that law.

“We have also submitted to the UN our objection to the Greek hydrocarbon law which contradicts the well-established rules and principles of international law by attempting to unilaterally define “the outer limits of the Greek continental shelf boundaries through a median line between continental land masses and insular formations, in particular such as the very small island of Kastellorizo,” he told the paper.

“Turkey fully exercises its sovereign rights over its continental shelf. No foreign country, company, or vessel may conduct any unauthorized hydrocarbon or scientific research activity on Turkey’s continental shelf and the marine areas superjacent to it. This is a very clear fact,” he added.

Turkey has occupied the northern third of Cyprus since an unlawful 1974 invasion and is the only country to recognize its own self-declared Republic and the same time as seeking entry into the European Union while barring ships and planes from Cyprus, which is a member of the bloc.

Talks to reunify the island broke off at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana in July, 2017 after Anastasiades walked out when Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and Erdogan said a Turkish army on the island would never be removed and that they wanted the right to militarily intervene when they wanted.

Erdogan went to Athens in December, 2017 to meet Tsipras in a bid to cool tensions between the countries as well as review the suspended Cypriot talks on the island where Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom, the former Colonial ruler which still has a base there, are guarantors of security along with a small United Nations peacekeeping force.

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