Turkish drillship ‘flagrant violation of Cyprus’ rights’

The Turkish drillship Yavuz arrived within the Cyprus EEZ on Thursday night, according to a tweet on Saturday morning by Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez.

The ship has reached the Morphou-1 location, Donmez said. “Our ship will start drilling as soon as possible after completing all preparations,” he added.

Meanwhile on Saturday morning Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told United States’ Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Turkey is violating the sovereign rights of Cyprus.

“Turkey’s recent moves… are a flagrant violation of Cyprus‘ sovereign rights,” Mitsotakis told Pompeo, visiting Greece on the last leg of a trip to southern Europe.

“The United States have a particular interest in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Cyprus is only asking for the self-evident, the implementation of international law,” Mitsotakis said.

Speaking to Greek TV station ANT1, Greek Foreign Minister Nicos Dendias said that the illegal attempt of Turkey to drill in the Cyprus EEZ is part of its tactics to create fait accompli – a tactic which violates the international Law and the Law of the Sea.

“We will not follow Turkey in the path of the escalation of tension. We will not allow the East Mediterranean to return to the days of the 19th and of the early 20th century, with the presence of gunboats,” Dendias stressed.

“Greece will move forward, using as its principal instrument the international Law and the Law of the Sea, and hopefully with the support of our European allies, Turkey will be led to an impasse as regards its illegal actions,” he added.

Dendias expressed the view that the current stance of Turkey leads to its isolation, as the country assumes the role of the pariah of Europe and of the troublemaker in the region. Dendias said, he personally expressed this view to his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, stressing that these actions harm Turkey itself.

On Friday the EU urged Turkey to respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus as targeted measures were discussed in light of Ankara’s continued drilling activities in the island’s EEZ.

According to a Commission statement, High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini held a phone conversation on Friday with Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides.

In their discussion, they deplored Turkey’s further drilling activities 45 nautical miles off the southern coast of Cyprus.

“Turkey’s actions come at a moment when intensified efforts are ongoing for the resumption of Cyprus settlement talks under the auspices of the United Nations Secretary General. It remains crucial to ensure a conducive environment for these talks,” the statement said.

Source: Cyprus Mail