NEWS

War of nerves over Cyprus gas

TAGS: Turkey, US, Cyprus, Energy

Cyprus is expected to deploy all the tools provided by international law to deal with Turkey’s illegal activities within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

In the latest diplomatic step in response to Ankara’s incursions, Nicosia said Monday it will begin procedures to have an international arrest warrant issued for the crew of the Turkish Fatih vessel that is planning to start hydrocarbon drilling activities off the island’s western coast.

On Saturday, Nicosia, in consultation with Athens, submitted the coordinates delineating the boundaries of Cyprus’ EEZ and its continental shelf to the United Nations.

“The necessary preparatory work was done by the Republic of Cyprus in relation to Turkey’s illegal actions in the Cyprus EEZ, and this is evident from the immediate and clear reaction of the European Union,” Cyprus’ foreign minister, Nikos Christodoulides, said Monday, adding that he is in constant communication with the European Commission and EU member-states.

“Tomorrow I shall be in Paris where this issue will be the top item on the agenda of my meetings there,” he said Monday.

Turkey’s moves also prompted statements of concern and support from the EU and the United States, as well as from Israeli Ambassador to Cyprus Sammy Revel.

Echoing the sentiments of EU Vice President Federica Mogherini on Saturday, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani described Turkey’s plans Monday as “a violation of international law.”

“The Republic of Cyprus has the full and sovereign right to explore and exploit natural resources within its EEZ. We stand with Cyprus in safeguarding its rights underpinned by international and European law,” he said.

For its part, Turkey has struck a defiant note since it announced its decision last Friday to drill off Cyprus, saying its right to do so stems from international law.

Speaking at the North Atlantic Council Mediterranean Dialogue meeting in Ankara Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he expects NATO to support his country’s rights in the Eastern Mediterranean and added, after meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, that the “rights” of Turkey and of the Turkish Cypriots to energy sources in the Eastern Mediterranean are “non negotiable.”

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