Dec 12 2018

Greek Cypriot leader calls on EU for support against Turkish threats

Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades on Wednesday urged the European Union to support the divided island of Cyprus against Turkish threats over its planned drilling activity within the Greek Cypriot exclusive economic zone (EEZ), Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported.

“It is… very important that the EU remains clearly in solidarity with the Republic of Cyprus as regards the exercise of sovereign rights for exploration and exploitation of natural resources within its EEZ,” Kathimerini quoted Anastasiades as saying during a European Parliament plenary in Strasbourg.

Turkey has made its intentions to drill in areas west of the divided island of Cyprus known, in spite of protests from the Greek Cypriot and its allies. Some of the areas explored by Turkish vessels lie in the exclusive economic zone claimed by the Greek Cypriot administration which has caused increased tensions between Ankara and Athens. While the dispute in the eastern Mediterranean over gas explorations on offshore Cyprus continues, both Turkey and Greece have been stepping up their own surveying and drilling efforts.

The Greek Cypriot leader warned against Ankara’s “threats and destabilising activities incompatible with what international law and European law dictates,’’ while stressing that the EU had a “moral obligation” to contribute to efforts to solve a problem plaguing Greek Cyprus.

Cyprus remains split between the EU-member Greek Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, after Turkey invaded the island in 1974.