The Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has formally challenged the legality of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in a formal letter submitted to the United Nations and published as a formal document of the General Assembly of the UN and in the UN publication Law of the Sea.
Turkey’s challenge of the legality of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone also affects Egypt since the EEZ boundaries were drawn after an agreement between the Cypriot and Egyptian governments.
This latest provocation by the Turkish government comes at a time when the Erdoğan regime is allegedly interested in pursuing a constructive approach towards a solution of the Cyprus problem.
In a letter dated March 17, 2016, Turkey’s representative to the UN questions and rejects a formal complaint launched by Cyprus’ representative to the UN on behalf of the Cypriot government for the harassment of MV Flying Enterprise.
In a letter to the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, dated February 29, 2016, Nicos Emiliou, the Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the UN, states that on December 17, 2015, a navy vessel of the Republic of Turkey approached and harassed MV Flying Enterprise, which was duly licensed to conduct a geophysical survey in the south of Cyprus, while a relevant navigational warning was issued for this purpose.
Mr. Emiliou adds in his letter that according to the investigation that followed the incident, the Turkish warship “TCG Gediz” had instructed the research vessel to stop all survey operations and change course and speed by reason of entering a “Turkish maritime restricted area.”
Mr. Emiliou’s letter had been published as a formal document of the General Assembly of the UN and in the UN publication Law of the Sea.
Turkey’s representative to the UN challenges the right of the Cypriot government to declare an exclusive economic zone by saying there does not exist a single authority to represent both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and states categorically that Turkey has the right to intervene with its warships in any region where scientific explorations take place without the consent/permission of the Turkish government.