Cyprus to block Turkey’s EU talks after EEZ violation

Cyprus has said it will block any progress in Turkey’s EU membership talks in response to a violation of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) by a Turkish survey vessel.

“We cannot consent to the opening of any new chapters under the current circumstances,” government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides told journalists on Tuesday after a session of the National Council, which is made up of parliamentary party leaders and advises President Nicos Anastasiades.

Christodoulides said that the National Council had decided to promote a total of eight measures in response to Ankara’s assertiveness, including lodging a formal complaint against Turkey at an EU leader’s meeting later this week.

The Turkish research vessel Barbaros, escorted by one warship and two support vessels, entered Block 3 inside Nicosia’s EEZ on Monday morning. According to a so-called Navigational Telex (NAVTEX) note issued by Ankara in early October – and which at the time caused Nicosia to suspend UN-brokered peace negotiations – the vessel plans to carry out seismic surveys for natural gas exploration until December 30.