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Cyprus issues anti-Navtex countering Turkey’s notice extending gas exploration

Will the Yavuz be on its way to Limassol marina?

Cyprus on Sunday issued an anti-Navtex as a response to Turkey’s own maritime notice a day earlier for exploration inside Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Turkey’s Navtex covers Cyprus’ Block 6 and specified the Yavuz drillship will be in the area southwest of the island until September 15.

In its own anti-Navtex, Cyprus called Turkey’s notice “unauthorised and illegal activity of the Yavuz drillship and its supporting vessels, in Cyprus’ EEZ and continental shelf.”

“This action is a gross violation of international law, affects maritime safety procedures and is also a criminal offence under the laws of the Republic of Cyprus,” it added.

Turkey’s Navtex follows the expiration of one issued last month for Block 6 and 7 between July 18 and August 20, which have been licensed to ENI and TOTAL.

Cyprus’ Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides on Saturday told his EU counterparts he did not rejoice in being able to say “I told you so” over his insistence the “the police of appeasement will not work with Turkey.”

The Yavuz has been in Cyprus’ EEZ since April, when Ankara announced another attempt to drill a well in the Republic’s continental shelf, in blocks licensed to international companies.

In July, Turkey’s seismic research vessel Barbaros entered blocks 2, 3 and 13 of Cyprus’ EEZ in the area southeast of Cape Greco in Famagusta.

Turkey has also upped the ante in the eastern Mediterranean with Greece after it dispatched seismic research vessel Oruc Reis in a disputed area, which Greece said was illegal and is likely to heighten tensions between the two NATO allies.

The Navted, issued last week by the Turkish navy’s office of navigation, covered an area of sea south of Turkey’s Antalya and west of Cyprus, effective between August 10-23.

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