In its first statement after the official change of guard on Tuesday, the Greek Foreign Ministry condemned Turkey’s planned drilling inside Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), saying such an action violates international law and further escalates tensions in the region.
“We condemn Turkey’s attempted illegal drilling within the territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus,” the ministry said after the arrival this week of a second Turkish drillship, the Yavuz, off the Mediterranean island’s northeast coast.
“We express our full solidarity with the Republic of Cyprus and we call once again on Turkey to immediately cease its illegal activities and to respect the sovereignty and sovereign rights of Cyprus,” it added.
The ministry said that the violation of the sovereign rights of a European Union member-state is incompatible with a country that wants to join the EU and reaffirms the validity of the European Council’s decision to adopt appropriate measures against Ankara.
Turkey’s plans have already been slammed by the EU, while the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that the “violation of Cyprus’s sovereignty” undermines efforts to resolve island’s decades-old problem.
Also Tuesday, France’s Foreign Ministry reaffirmed “its solidarity with Cyprus, whose sovereignty must be respected.”
“We call on Turkey to avoid any action that would be unlawful and could jeopardize regional stability,” it said.
Egypt, meanwhile, “stressed the importance of non-escalation and commitment to respecting and implementing international law.”