Cyprus President Calls Turkish Drilling Off Island “Second Invasion”



Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades on Monday likened Turkey’s actions inside the island’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) to a “second invasion” and a violation of international law.

“It is clearly a violation of international law, or, as I could describe it, a second invasion, considering the violation of the Republic of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone,” he said.

Anastasiades also declared that Turkey’s recent actions have made it impossible to resume reunification talks.

“It is impossible for anyone to speak of peace under threat. And not just threats, but an active violation of international law for the umpteenth time,” the Cypriot President stated.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan remained defiant on Monday, saying he expected NATO to support his country’s rights in the eastern Mediterranean, despite the United States and European Union voicing concerns over Ankara’s plans.

Earlier on Monday, Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides said Nicosia was taking diplomatic steps to respond to Turkey’s latest incursion and was also seeking an international arrest warrant for the crew of the Turkish vessel.

Speaking to reporters after a cabinet meeting at the palace, Christodoulides dismissed the notion that Nicosia was caught off guard by the appearance of the Turkish drillship “Fatih” in waters to the west of Paphos.

“The necessary preparatory work was done by the Republic of Cyprus in relation to Turkey’s illegal actions in the Cyprus EEZ, and this is evident from the immediate and clear reaction of the EU,” Christodoulides said.

The Cypriot government, he added, is in constant communication with the European Commission as well as with EU member states.

Both the European Union and the United States have already called upon Ankara to refrain from actions which serve to intensify the ongoing tensions in the region.

The US State Department called upon Turkey on Sunday to cancel its plans to drill off Cyprus, accusing Ankara of risking raising tensions in the Mediterranean region.