Nicosia takes action against Turkish drilling operations in Cyprus’ EEZ

The government of Cyprus has strongly condemned the conduct by Turkey of hydrocarbon exploration drilling operations within the Exclusive Economic Zone/continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus, noting that action is already being undertaken at a legal, political and diplomatic level, utilizing all possibilities, and in particular within the framework of the European Union.

“This provocative action by Turkey constitutes a flagrant violation of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus according to International and European Union Law,” a press release issued by the Foreign Ministry on Saturday said.

Furthermore, it noted that “at the same time, it serves to reveal the real intentions of Ankara in relation to the Cyprus question and explains why Turkey has rejected the proposal for an informal meeting, in a ‘Crans Montana format’, to discuss the Cyprus problem. It was precisely in this context precisely that the UN Security Council just recently underlined the need to avoid actions that damage the chances of success and urged the implementation and further development of confidence-building measures.”

The Foreign Ministry also said that fully aware of Turkey’s intentions, it has taken and continues to take all necessary measures to address the situation, in its capacity as a member state of the European Union and the United Nations and as a state that plays an active role in the Eastern Mediterranean.

It was in this vein that the European Council, in its Conclusions of March 2018, called on Turkey to cease these illegal actions and respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources in accordance with EU and International Law, recalling at the same time Turkeys obligation to respect International Law and good neighbourly relations, and normalize relations with all EU Member States including the Republic of Cyprus, it added.

Furthermore, the Foreign Ministry noted, in the framework of the EU � Turkey Association Council of March 2019, the EU and its 28 Member States called on Turkey to refrain from any such illegal actions to which the EU would respond appropriately and in full solidarity with Cyprus.

In light of the above, action is already being undertaken at a legal, political and diplomatic level, utilizing all possibilities, and in particular within the framework of the European Union, the press release concluded.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in the summer of 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

Source: Cyprus News Agency