Cyprus Mail

Cyprus will handle any EEZ challenge from Turkey through legal means  

The Turkish research vessel Barbaros

The Republic will handle a possible Turkish challenge inside its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) using legal means, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said on Thursday.

Speaking in parliament, the minister said they were consulting with the state Legal Service on how to react if Turkey dispatched a research vessel to roam inside Cyprus’ EEZ.

In October 2014, Turkey had sent Barbaros to carry out seismic surveys inside Cyprus’ EEZ.

It coincided with drilling work conducted by hydrocarbon companies in search for natural gas.

The move prompted President Nicos Anastasiades to withdraw from reunification talks, which restarted some six months later.

Kasoulides said the Legal Service had not been ready to recommend legal measures at the time.

Following that, it tasked a foreign firm to prepare a battle plan in case Turkey decided to challenge the island’s sovereign rights once more.

Kasoulides said energy was one of the most important tools in the Republic’s foreign policy, which brought it together with other countries in the region.

Turkey does not recognise the Republic nor Nicosia’s jurisdiction in the EEZ, and says Greek Cypriots were acting ‘unilaterally’ in prospecting for hydrocarbons without including Turkish Cypriots.

It demands that Cyprus cease hydrocarbon explorations pending reunification talks and has previously said it would take measures to protect its interests.

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