Hope for Cyprus talks amid reports Turkish ship Barbaros withdrawing

New hope for the possible resumption of stalled Cyprus talks emerged on Christmas Day amid reports in the Turkish media that the Turkish seismic vessel Barbaros would withdraw from Cypriot waters on Tuesday.

The Barbaros has been violating Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) since October 20 when it entered the area amid Turkish protests over Cypriot authorities launching licensed oil and gas drilling activities in the area.

The violation by the Barbaros prompted Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades to pull out of the latest United Nations-mediated Cyprus peace talks.

According to press reports, Turkish-Cypriot negotiator Ergun Olgun said the Barbaros is set to withdraw from the area by December 30 having completed its exploration activities, paving the way for the resumption of stalled talks.

There was no immediate reaction from Cypriot authorities to the reports.

Despite indications of a possible thaw in the Eastern Mediterranean, tensions in the Aegean appear to have resurfaced.

Turkish military officials alleged that Turkish fighter jets were harassed by Greek F-16s while conducting training flights over the Aegean Sea earlier this week.

The claims come after a spate of violations of Greek air space in the Aegean by Turkish aircraft.