Cyprus Accuses Turkey of Escalating Tensions as Second Drillship Arrives

Cyprus has strongly condemned Turkey’s new, illegal drill off the east coast of the island, saying it was an escalation of the ongoing violation of the Republic’s sovereign rights.

In a statement, the presidency said it “strongly condemns” Turkey’s actions, which came two months after Ankara started drilling for natural gas off the island’s west coast.

A second Turkish drillship, Yavuz, which is expected to begin drilling for oil and natural gas near Cyprus this week, arrived on Monday, Refinitiv Eikon shipping data showed.

Turkey already has a drilling ship, Fatih, off the west coast of the island and Cyprus issued arrest warrants for its crew in June.

The presidency said Turkey’s action was a very serious violation of the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus.

“Turkey continues to violate international law, conventional and customary, blatantly ignoring calls by the European Union and the international community to end its illegal actions and respect the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources within its sea areas,” the statement said.

It accused Ankara of refusing to engage in talks, deliberately avoiding them with the aim of creating new fait accompli.

The presidency said it was paradoxical that Turkey, while refusing to recognize the Republic as a member of the EU and the UN that has struck agreements with neighboring countries, “sites international law and claims to be acting with the permission of an illegal occupation regime.”

The statement said that Ankara should realize that the only way of tackling the problems it is creating was through intense and decisive dialogue based on UN resolutions and EU principles.