British Prime Minister Theresa May has been urged by the Cypriot diaspora community to “call upon Turkey to remove its warships from Cyprus’s EEZ [exclusive economic zone].”
A letter to May signed by community members Leonidas Leonidou, Andreas Tambourides, Antonis Savvides, Doros Partasides, George Hadjipavlis, Ioannis Kouvaros, Serafim Diakou, Spyros Neophytou, Tasos Poyiatzis and Stella Dinenis said, “British citizens, members of the strong Greek-Cypriot community, who originate from cities, towns and villages occupied by the Turkish Army since 1974 in the northern part of Cyprus, ask the prime minister to call upon Turkey to adhere to international law and allow the Republic of Cyprus to exercise its sovereign and legal rights to explore and exploit its natural resources.”
In reference to Turkey’s naval blockade off the coast of Cyprus to prevent drilling for hydrocarbons authorized by Nicosia, it added, “Gunboat diplomacy has no place in the 21st century.”
Turkey, the letter read, is attempting to “to escalate tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean through increased military presence.”
The letter also notes the “full and firm support” Cyprus has received from European Union leaders and the European Parliament.
The letter has also been sent to Conservative Party MPs Theresa Villiers, Mathew Offord, Sir Roger Gale, Mike Freer, Sheryll Murray, Sir David Amess and Martin Vickers.
Villiers, who is an MP for Chipping Barnet, addressed more than 400 members of the north London British-Cypriot community on Saturday, expressing “serious concerns on Turkish interference with hydrocarbon extraction work in the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone.”
She noted: “I believe that the actions of Turkey are not acceptable. Cyprus has the right to authorize drilling in its EEZ and Turkey has no right to prevent this activity. I have raised this issue in Parliament and I will continue to press the UK government to take action. I want UK ministers to condemn what is taking place and raise this matter with their Turkish counterparts.”