The Cyprus government called Turkey a ‘pirate state’ on Sunday as Ankara announced the drillship Yavuz was already on its way to the island’s EEZ for further drilling.
The Cyprus government condemns new illegal drilling planned by Turkey within its EEZ and continental shelf, a statement by the presidency said on Sunday morning.
“Turkey is developing into a pirate state in the Eastern Mediterranean. In contradiction to the energy synergies that have been created in the region, Turkey insists on walking the path of international lawlessness,” it continued.
Meanwhile according to Turkish media reports the Yavuz is 100 nautical miles off the south of the island, within block 8.
According to the Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak, spokesman for the Turkish foreign ministry Hami Aksoy said “Our drillship Yavuz reached area G in the south part of the island, to carry out the third drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean last Friday”.
In a statement, he hit out at the EU, accusing it of double standards for characterising the Turkish drilling as illegal.
“The EU has remained silent since 2003 about the embezzlement of the rights of Turkish Cypriots in the Mediterranean. In no statement did it mention the Turkish Cypriots and it ignored their rights.
“No-one can doubt that we will continue to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriots until their rights over the natural resources of the island are guaranteed,” he said.
He described as “provocative” the repeated calls of the international community, and especially the EU, for Turkey to end its illegal activities.
“Continuing to defy repeated calls from the international community, and in particular the European Union to immediately stop its illegal activities, Turkey is again trying to carry out illegal drilling within, this time, the southern EEZ/continental shelf of Cyprus, in block 8, which has been licensed to the European companies ENI and TOTAL,” the presidency statement said.
The presidency stresses that the new threatened drilling, will once again violate the sovereign rights of the island and the UN law of the seas and the relevant international law, ignoring the international demarcation agreements in force between Cyprus – Israel and Cyprus – Egypt.
Later in the afternoon in a statement the Greek foreign ministry condemned Turkey’s actions in the Cyprus EEZ.
“It is part of a slew of violations of international law by Turkey in the wider region, ranging from invasion and occupation of land, violations of airspace and territorial waters, to violations of sovereign rights and attempts to seize neighbouring and non-coastal resources,” the Greek foreign ministry said.
The Cyprus Presidency added that Turkey, justifies its activity in the Cypriot EEZ by saying it is defending the rights of Turkish Cypriots, while it claims 44 per cent of the Cyprus EEZ.
“Any claim that the drilling activity is carried out for the benefit of the Turkish Cypriots is baseless and any alleged ‘authorisation’ by the so-called ‘TRNC’ is illegal and invalid, in accordance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions and international law,” it stressed.
It also stated that the interests of the Turkish Cypriots are fully safeguarded within the framework of the overall settlement of the Cyprus problem, as is also apparent from the relative convergences reached at the negotiating table, as well as from the occasional proposals by the President.
Member of main opposition Akel’s political office Christos Christou said the provocation far exceeds others committed by Turkey in the past.