Cyprus denounced Turkish seismic surveys in the island’s exclusive economic zone in a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, saying it violates the country’s sovereignty.
In a December 12 letter, published on December 31 and circulated as a UN Security Council document, Cyprus’s permanent UN representative, Kornilios Korniliou, described the activities of Turkish research vessel Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa as illegal.
In December 2018, Ankara issued three navigational telexes (navtexes 1291/18, 1298/18 and 1299/18) reserving a sea area in the the Eastern Mediterranean for naval exercises and seismic surveys by Barbaros.
The area stretches from the eastern edge of Greece’s continental shelf near the Dodecanese island of Kastellorizo to blocks 4 and 5 in Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), thus the navtexes appear designed to dispute Greece’s and Cyprus’s bordering EEZs.
“The aforementioned research constitutes a violation of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey under international law and in particular of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the provisions of which have long been crystallized in the international customary law,” Korniliou says.
“Turkey has no legal rights to conduct exploration activities in relation to the island’s natural resources without the explicit consent of the government of the Republic of Cyprus. Therefore, all the seismic data collected by Turkey during this illegal and unauthorized research belongs to the Republic of Cyprus,” he adds.