(April 21, 2020 / JNS) The Cypriot government accused Turkey on Monday of again attempting to drill for gas in its waters where it has exclusive economic rights.
“This new illegal ‘act of piracy’ constitutes a further severe violation of the sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the Republic of Cyprus, contrary to international law,” the Cypriot government said in a statement, according to the AP.
The government said that Turkish drilling ships were heading for waters south of Cyprus in an area it has exclusive rights over and which it has licensed energy companies Eni of Italy and France’s Total to carry out exploratory drilling in.
Cyprus said that it was the sixth time in less than a year that Turkey had tried to drill in Cypriot waters, with Ankara first sending a drill ship to the area in July with a warship escort.
The European Union has repeatedly condemned Turkey’s exploration in Cypriot waters, and has imposed asset freezes and travel bans on two top officials for the Turkish-owned Petroleum Corporation, according to the report.
Earlier this year, Israel, Cyprus and Greece inked a massive new pipeline deal to transport natural gas from to the eastern Mediterranean to markets in Europe.
Turkey, with decades of tensions with Greece and Cyprus, and more recently with Israel, has strongly opposed the pipeline. It also recently signed an agreement with Libya’s Tripoli-based government setting maritime boundaries that conflict with those envisioned by Israel, Cyprus, Greece and Egypt.
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