Cyprus Mail

Government takes steps in response to Turkish Navtex

Areas 5 and 6 show Turkey's two Navtex areas

The government on Thursday said it has taken all steps in response to new Turkish naval drills in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) scheduled for this Saturday.
Turkey’s navy issued a Navtex – or notice to mariners – reserving for Saturday an area of approximately 12,300 square kilometres to the west and south of the island.
The reserved area overlaps with parts of offshore blocks 1, 5, 6 and 7 in Cyprus’ EEZ.
Deputy government spokesman Viktoras Papadopoulos said Cypriot authorities have issued a counter-Navtex of their own, voiding the Turkish advisory and instructing mariners to disregard it.
Papadopoulos said the best response to Turkish provocations in the Mediterranean are Cyprus’ regional energy alliances and the country’s joining the EU’s common defence and security policy.
He was alluding to the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) which the government decided to join earlier this week.
According to daily Phileleftheros, the area reserved by Turkey at one point comes within five nautical miles of the site earmarked for gas drilling in block 6.
Earlier this week, President Nicos Anastasiades revealed that Total and ENI plan to drill a new exploratory well in block 6 by the end of this year or early 2018.
Cyprus regards the Turkish marine advisory as illegal, not because the drills are an incursion in the island’s territorial waters or continental shelf, but because the reserved area falls under the Republic’s Search and Rescue (SAR) Area of Responsibility.

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