As Turkey continues its blockade off the southern coast of Cyprus, Nicosia has issued a Navtex reserving an area, including parts of Blocks 3 and 13 of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), for an exercise on Thursday afternoon with live ammunition, according to the island’s Phileleftheros news site.
The reserved area covers roughly 600 square kilometers and adjoins the region Turkey has reserved for exercises until February 22.
Turkey’s notice includes parts of the island’s EEZ and has been used as a justification not to allow the Saipem 1200 drillship chartered by Italian energy giant ENI, or any other vessel for that matter, to approach Block 3.
Nicosia says the Turkish notice, which expires on February 22, violates international law and is legally invalid.
Ankara claims that part of Cyprus’s EEZ belongs to its continental shelf and has accused Nicosia of unilaterally exploring for gas and of ignoring the rights of Turkish Cypriots in the island’s occupied north.