Mar 11 2018

Turkey is increasing its military presence in Cyprus offshore

Detention of two greek soldiers and the geo-strategic rivalry regarding the energy sources of the Mediterranean is continuing to fuel tensions between Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said this week in Ankara that “The natural riches surrounding the island of Cyprus is the common wealth of all the people who live on the island. Yıldırım also added that any provocative efforts for gas exploration in the region will be responded in an “appropriate fashion”.

Today, Kathimerini newspaper reports that ahead of exploration activities by American oil giant Exxon, Turkish authorities have boosted their presence in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), dispatching the frigate Barbaros and three corvettes.

Meanwhile, one of the two ExxonMobil research vessels, Ocean Investigator, departed from Greece on Sunday and is headed towards Limassol port. The second one Med Surveyor is located off port Haifa, on Sunday. Both vessels are scheduled to carry out explorations in block 10 of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) untill April 20.

The Greek and Cypriot governments are watching closely the developments in the region, ahead of the meeting of Turkish and the European leaders to take place on March 26 in Varna, Bulgaria. If the tension continues to increase, Greece and Cyprus are likely to veto this meeting.