The Turkish seismic research vessel Barbaros, whose presence within Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ)prompted Nicosia to suspend peace talks in October, was on Tuesday reported to be sailing off Turkey’s coast.
Until Tuesday afternoon, the vessel had not yet docked at any port.
Cyprus’s deputy government spokesman Victor Papadopoulos Tuesday rejected claims from the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus on Monday that the Barbaros was returning to Turkey after the ENI-KOGAS drill ship, commissioned by the government in Nicosia, had left the island’s EEZ.
“The energy program of the Cyprus Republic will stop for no reason,” Papadopoulos said, adding that Nicosia would only return to UN-brokered talks to reunite the island if Ankara took practical steps to affirm its respect for the nation’s sovereign rights.
Meanwhile on Tuesday Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos wrapped up a two-day trip to Cyprus with a visit to the ceasefire line in the divided capital Nicosia.
Pavlopoulos, who was accompanied by Nicosia Mayor Constantinos Yiorkatzis, said the alliance between the two countries is “as robust as it has ever been.”