On the eve of Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias’ participation in a teleconference with his EU counterparts the ministry denounced Ankara’s decision to send its Yavuz gas and oil drill to Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone.
Dendias will raise the issue of Turkey’s escalating illegal conduct towards Greece and there will be discussion of its ongoing illegal activities in Cyprus’ EEZ.
The drill, named Yavuz, accompanied by a Turkish Navy frigate set sail shortly before midnight on Greek Easter, April 19, and is to conduct drilling in Block 6 of Cyprus’ EEZ to which it has laid claim.
The European Union has, like the US, has denounced Ankara’s illegal incursions and attempts to expropriate the gas deposits of the member-state’s EEZ but to no avail.
A concession for exploration in Block 6 has been granted by the Republic of Cyprus to energy giant ENI of Italy which is currently reeling under the crushing weight of nearly 25,000 deaths from Covid-19.
Many analysts in Athens have attributed Turkey’s moves to an attempt by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to divert attention from his country’s burgeoning economic crisis and failures in his policies in Syria and Libya but they are clearly in line with Ankara’s long-term strategy of forcing the island republic to share its hydrocarbons wealth with Turkish-occupied Cyprus and Turkey before a Cyprus peace settlement, which Nicosia has made a prerequisite for agreeing to a sharing scheme with the Turkish-Cypriot community.
«We unequivocally condemn Turkey’s planned illegal drilling inside the EEZ and the continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus and specifically in plots that have been licensed through legally prescribed procedures in European energy companies,» the Greek foreign ministry underlined in a statement released today.
«It is another provocation that ignores the calls of the European Union and the international community for respect of the international legality and of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus. It confirms once again Turkey’s destabilising role, as well as its characterisation as the ultimate violator of international law in the region,» it added.
«We reiterate that repetition and obsession with delinquent behavior do not produce justice, nor do they create acquis. We express our full support and absolute solidarity with the Republic of Cyprus and call on Turkey to respect international law and to refrain from actions that undermine security and stability in our common neighbourhood.»