March 18, 2018

Greek and Turkish Coast Guard Boats Collide Near Disputed Isles

15 February 2018, 07:22 | Taylor George

Anastasiades speaks of regional informal forum as lever for security

The required actions in every direction are being taken regarding Turkey's actions in Cyprus' EEZ President Anastasiades says

The Saipem 12000 is to start activity under a license provided by Cyprus, but Turkey opposes the move, saying it affects the natural resources of Turkish Cypriots on the occupied north of Cyprus.

European Council head Donald Tusk told Turkey on Monday "to avoid threats or actions against any EU member and instead commit to good neighborly relations, peaceful dispute settlement and respect for territorial sovereignty".

Cyprus said the drillship Saipem 12000 was on its way from a south-south-west location of Cyprus towards an area in the southeast of the island when it was stopped by Turkish warships.

Turkish naval vessels have intercepted the route of a ship belonging to the Italian oil exploration company Eni, which was on its way to explore the recently discovered gas reserves in Cypriot waters.

For this reason, the Greek Foreign Minister summoned the Turkish ambassador to demand the appropriate explanations for the "dangerous incident", which adds to the list of hard disagreements between the two countries in recent days.

Turkey's president has issued a warning to Greece, Cyprus and global companies exploring for gas in the eastern Mediterranean not to "step out of line" and encroach on Turkish rights.

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Italian energy company Eni announced it made a gas discovery off the coast of Cyprus last week.

Cypriot officials are claiming the act violated worldwide law because the forced move constituted military activity in the disputed area.

"Dangerous incidents, such as this one, which put human lives in danger, are the result of the escalating and provocative behavior shown increasingly by Turkey in recent days", the Greek Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

At the same time, President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades accused Turkey of violating global law by blocking the ship, pledging to take "necessary steps".

Turkey and Cyprus have faced-off regarding natural resources in the Mediterranean in the past, especially because of Ankara's ongoing argument that the northern portion of the island belongs to Turkey. Ankara yesterday, through its foreign ministry, once again criticized Nicosia over hydrocarbon drilling off its coasts calling such activity "unilateral".

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