Ankara ups the ante over drilling off Cyprus


In a sign that Ankara is further ratcheting up tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez suggested that the country’s plans to start drilling off Cyprus are within its sovereign rights, calling on “all sides to respect the research and drilling exercises within our continental shelf.”

The comments came a day after European officials expressed support for Nicosia over Turkey’s plans to drill in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has said would amount to a new invasion of the island.

“Those who are trying to test Turkey, backed by certain countries or companies, should know they are on the wrong road,” Donmez said. “Those who believe that the great and sacred people will be scared or buckle in the face of one or two threats should look at history.”

His comments came as Cypriot officials said talks were progressing with French-Italian consortium Total and ENI for an exploration license for Block 7 in Cyprus’ EEZ.