In response to Turkey’s current activities and future designs in Cyprus’ territorial waters, Nicosia issued a navigational telex Friday reserving parts of blocks 2 and 3 in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) for naval exercises from July 1 to 10.
Based on recent comments by Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez and other officials, this is the area where a second Turkish drillship, the Yavuz, is expected to anchor to begin exploring for hydrocarbons.
Block 3 is also where a natural gas prospect named Squid is located, and where Turkey had prevented exploratory drilling by Italian firm Eni in February 2018.
At the same time, Nicosia is reportedly doing everything it can to ensure the participation of French energy company Total in blocks that have already been licensed to Italy’s Eni, as well as a consortium of the Italian company and South Korea’s KOGAS.
Turkey’s behavior off Cyprus was lambasted on Friday by New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who said that the island’ EEZ also concerns the European Union and that if Ankara continues its violations then the bloc should impose sanctions.
Meanwhile, seeking to pre-empt the stated objective of Turkish-Cypriot officials to settle the fenced-off town of Varosha in occupied Cyprus, President Nicos Anastasiades sent a letter to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on June 24, calling for the creation of a bicommunal committee that will draft proposals to reconstruct Varosha, a ghost town since the Turkish invasion in 1974.