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Cyprus says Turkish gas activities in east Med illegal

The Turkish research vessel Barbaros

Cyprus said Saturday Turkey was conducting illegal operations inside the island’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and its continental shelf, in violation of international law.

In a maritime notice issued early on Saturday morning, Cyprus warned that a Turkish survey vessel was committing serious criminal offences under the laws of the Republic.

“Any individuals and companies working and/or providing services, assisting and soliciting to support the illegal actions of Barbaros H.P.” were violating the rights of the Republic and arrest warrants would be issued against them and they would be held accountable.

The notice, or navtex, was in response of a Turkish navtex on Friday through which Ankara extended the operations of its seismic research vessel Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa off the south eastern coast of Cyprus until October 18.

Turkey disputes Cyprus’ right to explore in the seas around the island because it maintains that the government does not represent the interests of Turkish Cypriots. Ankara has its own claims in the area too.

Friday’s announcement came three days after Turkey extended the operations of its Yavuz drill ship off Cyprus until October 12, in a move that Cyprus described as provocative. Greece, also locked in dispute with Turkey over east Mediterreanean waters, expressed concern.

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