Nicosia has information about Turkey’s drilling activity but is unable to confirm it, Spokesman tells CNA

Nicosia possesses pieces of information in relation to Turkey’s drilling activity off the coast of Cyprus but is not in a position to confirm it, Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said on Sunday.

Phileleftheros writes in its Sunday paper that the Republic of Cyprus has strong indications that the Turkish drill ship Fatih has started its drilling activity off the western part of the island. These indications concern the shipping of material associated with drilling, such as cement and mud.

Speaking to CNA, Prodromou said that for several days now, we are monitoring statements from Turkish officials and often conflicting information. These days there are pieces of information about the shipping of material and equipment, associated with drilling. We are not, however, in a position to confirm this information.

What we know is that only two days ago, in Valetta, seven Mediterranean EU member states unequivocally condemned Turkish illegal activity in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus the Government Spokesman went on. He also noted that the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades has secured the absolute support of our partners in the Mediterranean, isolating thus Turkey while there is also a predisposition to examine possible measures against Turkey, ahead of the next European Council, on June 20 and 21.

Prodromou also noted the statement by French President Emanuel Macron after the 6th Summit of the Southern EU Countries, in Malta, who expressed solidarity with Cyprus for Turkey’s illegal activities in the EEZ, while noting that the EU will not show weakness on this matter.

Speaking last Friday to Anadolu news agency, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Fatih already started drilling in the west of Cyprus and a second drill-ship was en route to the region.

A day earlier, diplomatic sources in Nicosia said that there are indications that Turkey started drilling, as well as indications pointing to the contrary, noting that there is no clear information on this.

As for Cyprus’ intention to adopt measures against Ankara on a European level for its illegal activities in the Republic’s continental shelf/EEZ, a government source told CNA that efforts are underway to adopt measures at the EU Summit, through consultations with EU partners. The aim is to adopt measures that will deter Turkey and at the same time will be in line with the priorities of all EU member states, which need to the give the go-ahead for these measures to pass, the same source concluded.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Last month Turkey issued a navigational telex, announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus until September 3. Fatih, accompanied by three service ships, is located almost 40 nautical miles west of the Akamas peninsula and 83 nautical miles from the Turkish coast. The area falls within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus.

Source: Cyprus News Agency