Ankara has issued more navigational telexes (Navtex) or notices to mariners, that it will be sending a survey vessel to the island’s exclusive economic zone to conduct seismic research and rescue simulation exercises in part of Cyprus’ offshore natural gas blocks as well as around Greece’s southeastern Aegean island of Kastelorizo from April 30 to June 30.
Tensions are rising between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots as negotiations for the reunification of Cyprus have hit many impasses over the past several months — including the subject matter of drilling in the Aphrodite natural gas field, located in the Cypriot EEZ where the Turkish survey vessels are set to conduct their research.
Ankara’s controversial Navtex and plans to place their survey vessels in these specific areas is seen as a response to new offshore gas exploration by Cyprus scheduled for June as Turkey says that Turkish Cypriots should also have a say in the affair, not only the Greek Cypriots.
Turkey’s presence in the eastern Aegean is casting a dark cloud over the possibilities of a positive outcome for the second Geneva conference to bring forward a process to reunify the divided island. The meeting is set to take place later this month on June 29 between Cyprus’ President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, according to reports.