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Greece Slams Turkish Violations in Cypriot Waters

14 February 2018

On February 12, the Greek foreign ministry said that Turkey is violating worldwide rights and the sovereign rights of Cyprus by disrupting the drilling works in the Cyprus special economic zone (SEZ).

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Cyprus not to "overstep the mark" in the eastern Mediterranean on Tuesday.

Cyprus has insisted Turkey had breached "international law" on 11 February after Ankara's warships blocked an Italian drilling ship on course to explore for gas in the island's politically sensitive waters. "We recommend that foreign companies don't allow themselves to be an instrument of issues that surpass their limits and strength, by trusting the Greek Cypriot side".

The Cypriot government says it has a sovereign right to drill for gas and that if the search is successful, any income would be shared equitably if the island is reunified.

The Saipem 12000 drill ship was en route to an area south-east of Cyprus when it was stopped by Turkish warships and told to go no further due to military activities in the destination area, according to a spokesman for Eni quoted by Reuters.

In addition to Cyprus and Turkey, Israel and Lebanon are also at odds over offshore gas exploration and marine boundaries.

"[Cyprus conducts] unilateral hydrocarbon-related activities in disregard of the inalienable rights on natural resources of the Turkish Cypriot people, who are the co-owners of the Island", the statement read.

The vessels were off the uninhabited Imia - Kardak in Turkish - islets, which both countries claim. It added that Turkey's "provocative" behavior wasn't appropriate for a country that has worked to join the European Union.

"From our side, our actions reflect the necessity of avoiding anything which could escalate (the situation), without of course overlooking the violation of global law perpetrated by Turkey", Anastasiades told journalists in Nicosia.

European Council head Donald Tusk told Turkey on Monday "to avoid threats or actions against any EU member and instead commit to good neighborly relations, peaceful dispute settlement and respect for territorial sovereignty".

Greece Slams Turkish Violations in Cypriot Waters