Last Friday, Ankara’s naval ships invaded Cyprus’s territorial waters and stopped the Italian/French ENI-TOTAL gas exploration platform from reaching its destination.
In the same period, Turkish military vessels deliberately rammed a ship deep inside Greece’s territorial waters off the Imia islets.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has issued poisoned threats to all foreign companies to stop their gas exploration inside Cyprus’s EEZ or face his military wrath. His daily regurgitation of military threats continues to no end.
Turkey’s provocation has now escalated. A Turkish drilling platform protected by military vessels is heading for Cyprus’ waters and probably highjack Block 3 and start drilling for gas there on the claim it belongs to the Turkish Cypriots.
If so, who would dare to remove it? Certainly not Cyprus – it does not have the capabilities. Meanwhile there are military vessels from Italy, Greece and France rushing to the scene; what a mess this has become.
Yet, neither the UN — it has declared this is not part of its job description — nor the EU condemned Turkey’s territorial aggression against two of its member states, namely Cyprus and Greece.
Instead, they called for the two sides “to lower their tone” and reach a solution to their problem; these are the real friends Greece and Cyprus have.
The Cyprus government in fact has failed once again in its policy planning to provide protection for those offshore platforms during the signing of those exploration licenses. That’s what competent governments do.
ENI – TOTAL will probably now pack up and go; they don’t want to be implicated (and said so) with Cyprus’s political problems at half-a-billion-euro cost per day for not drilling. Nobody can blame them for that decision.
This is a government policy failure of a grand scale, which shows lack of a long-term strategy to deal with the security of the country and its territorial integrity. It proves that Cyprus does not have effective precautionary measures to safeguard those platforms from terrorists and bullies like Turkey.
*Andreas C Chrysafis is a U.K.-published author of five books and over 400 press articles. His latest books are “Aphrodite’s Sacred Virgins” and “Andreas C Chrysafis ART –Volume 1”