Turkey issued a new navigational telex (Navtex) late on Tuesday reserving an area off the southwestern coast of Cyprus, with the Republic of Cyprus on Wednesday demanding Turkey immediately halt seismic research within Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
The Office of Navigation, Hydrography and Oceanography issued the Navtex from the Antalya station for Turkey’s Barbaros seismic survey vessel, reserving an area southwest of Cyprus until February 16.
A counter-Navtex issued by Cyprus’ Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) said the action “constitutes a violation of international law and maritime safety procedures and it is also a criminal offence under the laws of the Republic of Cyprus.”
Turkey’s new Navtex comes amid escalating tensions with both Greece and Cyprus over maritime borders and energy rights.
In late summer, Turkey dispatched a research vessel escorted by warships to conduct seismic research in a part of the Mediterranean Sea that Greece claims as its territory, which prompted the Greek government to deploy its own warships.
Turkey pulled the research ship back to shore for several weeks for maintenance and to allow time for diplomacy but redeployed the Oruc Reis on a new energy exploration mission in the area until October 27. [Kathimerini Cyprus]