US urge Turkey to halt drilling operations in waters off Cyprus

The United States has said that Turkey’s most recent dispatch of the drillship Yavuz to conduct drilling operations off the Karpas Peninsula of Cyprus is a “provocative step” and has urged Turkish authorities to halt these operations.

“The United States remains deeply concerned by Turkey’s repeated attempts to conduct drilling operations in the waters off Cyprus and its most recent dispatch of the drillship Yavuz off the Karpas Peninsula,” US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a written statement.

“This provocative step raises tensions in the region,” she adds.

“We urge Turkish authorities to halt these operations and encourage all parties to act with restraint and refrain from actions that increase tensions in the region. Energy resource development in the Eastern Mediterranean should foster cooperation, increase dialogue between the two communities and among regional neighbors, and provide a foundation for durable energy security and economic prosperity,” the US official says.

“We continue to believe the island’s oil and gas resources, like all of its resources, should be equitably shared between both communities in the context of an overall settlement,” she notes.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Turkey issued in May a navigational telex, announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus until September 3. Since May 4, the Turkish drill ship Fatih is in an area that falls within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus.

A second Turkish drill ship, Yavuz, arrived off the island’s northeastern coast. Turkey has issued NAVTEX 765/19, according to which Yavuz will drill until September 30th with the help of three supporting vessels

The Government of the Republic of Cyprus has strongly condemned Turkey’s new attempt to illegally conduct drilling operations in the east of Cyprus, close to the Karpasia peninsula, within the Territorial Sea of the Republic.

Source: Cyprus News Agency