Cyprus calls for U.S. support over Turkey’s violations off its western coast
Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides sought for Washington’s support against what Nicosia says Turkey’s ongoing violations off Cyprus’ western coast during a phone conversation with U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, Greek daily Kathimerini reported.
Tensions have heightened in the Eastern Mediterranean over the past year, as Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus have stepped up gas exploration and drilling efforts, which have resurfaced old conflicts.
Turkey's recent decision to send its "Fatih" drilling ship to drill in areas that that overlap with the Greek Cypriots' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) was denounced by the United States and the EU.
During his conversation with Christodoulides, Bolton reaffirmed U.S. support to Nicosia, calling for an immediate cessation of activities within the island’s EEZ, Kathimerini said.
Nicosia on Friday intensified its diplomatic efforts against what it says Turkey’s violations of international law. Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades on Friday briefed 10 top judges from European Union countries over Turkey’s actions.
Anastasiades also sent a letter to British Prime Minister Theresa May in which he essentially condemned London’s recent description of the area in Cyprus’ EEZ where Ankara plans to conduct exploratory drilling.
Meanwhile, Turkey's foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Friday wrote a letter to European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, EU countries and the foreign ministers of the United Nations Security Council’s permanent members on the recent dispute with Cyprus.
Çavuşoğlu said in his letter that the EU's support for Greek Cypriots under the guise of membership solidarity conflicted with international law, Anadolu Agency reported.
Cyprus was split between the Greek Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, after Turkey invaded the island in 1974. Turkey maintains that attempts by Cyprus to conduct gas exploration are a violation of the rights of the Republic of Northern Cyprus, a state recognised by only Ankara.
Ankara also has claims on the island’s EEZ partly overlap with Cyprus’ blocks 1, 4, 6 and 7, while supporting the North's claims on blocks 1, 2, 3, 8, 9 and 13, including within a few kilometres from the Aphrodite gas field in block 12.