Greek Cyprus says Turkey 'pirate state' after planned Turkish drilling

(Releads, updates throughout with Greek Cypriot statement)

The Cyprus government said on Sunday Turkey was turning into a pirate state as it continues what Nicosia says illegal drilling efforts after Turkey announced plans to send new drilling ship off Cyprus, Cyprus Mail reported. 

“Turkey is developing into a pirate state in the Eastern Mediterranean. In contradiction to the energy synergies that have been created in the region, Turkey insists on walking the path of international lawlessness,”

“Turkey is developing into a pirate state in the Eastern Mediterranean. In contradiction to the energy synergies that have been created in the region, Turkey insists on walking the path of international lawlessness,” a statement by the Cypriot presidency said.

Cyprus and Greece dispute Turkey’s claims in the region. Turkey, the only nation to recognise the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, maintains that attempts by the internationally recognised government of Cyprus to conduct gas exploration are a violation of the rights of the Turkish Cypriot north of the divided island.

Turkey has been finding itself increasingly marginalised in the east Mediterranean, as Cyprus is also cooperating with Israel and Italy, along with Egypt. In January Cairo hosted leaders from the Republic of Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Egypt, Italy, Jordan, and the Palestinian territories who attended a gas forum for the eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey's Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez announced on Friday that the country's Yavuz drillship would be deployed off Cyprus to conduct drilling activities.

Peter Stano, spokesman for foreign affairs at the European Commission, also condemned on Saturday Turkey's plans to send a new drilling ship off Cyprus, saying that the move disturbed the environment for dialogue.

"Concrete steps towards creating an environment conducive to dialogue in good faith are needed. The intention by Turkey to launch further exploration and drilling activities in the wider region goes, regrettably, in the opposite direction," Stano said.

Turkey dispatched the Yavuz to Cyprus on June 21 as part of its efforts to press its claims to potentially rich gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean, which has led to tensions between Turkey, Cyprus and Greece.

Turkey's Yavuz withdrew from the waters off Cyprus in September.

https://cyprus-mail.com/2020/01/19/287705/