Turkey has issued a new navigational warning bounding the island’s east, south, and western coasts from Monday to Sunday and again from March 22 until the 29th.
According to the warning, which also skirts an offshore block earmarked for natural gas exploration by the republic, a Turkish warship will be towing an underwater device during that time.
Cyprus responded by issuing its own Navtex stating that Turkey’s action had not been authorized by the republic.
Ankara’s action is considered to be part of its effort to disrupt the republic’s hydrocarbon programme.
Last month, Turkish warships prevented Italian energy company ENI from drilling in a field inside block 6 of the Republic’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Turkey argues it is safeguarding the rights of Turkish Cypriots, but it also has its own claims inside Cyprus’ EEZ.
It has vowed to prevent what it sees as a unilateral move by Greek Cypriots, but Cyprus has shown no signs of backing down.
The government said it was sticking to its plans for the exploitation of the island’s energy wealth representing all its citizens.
“The EEZ is recognized internationally and it belongs to states, not individual groups, and since there is a desire for everyone to benefit from the energy wealth at this moment we should have accelerated procedures to have an agreed solution to the Cyprus problem,” Prodromos Prodromou said.
Interventions in Cyprus’ energy programme won’t yield the desired results, he added.
A Cypriot Navtex comes into force Saturday, reserving the sea area inside the EEZ known as block 10 for exploration activity by US energy giant ExxonMobil.
The company’s two vessels have not yet sailed for Cyprus EEZ.
“Either we will do it together – by discussing, agreeing and moving together – or things will stop, or, we (Turkish Cypriots) will do the same thing: we will start exploiting and drilling as well,” said Kudret Ozersay, foreign minister of the Turkish Cypriot breakaway state in the north of the island.
“Our argument on the issue of maritime areas is not based on geography,” Ozersay said, to an observation that Cyprus has only licensed maritime exploration areas lying south of the island, where it exercises effective control, and not to the north.
“It is based on historic rights and the rights deriving from the partnership republic,” he said.