Feb 23 2018

EU leaders express solidarity with Cyprus in gas exploration standoff

European Union leaders expressed solidarity with Cyprus and Greece on Friday after Nicosia accused Turkish warships of threatening to use force to stop a new attempt at exploration by the Italian energy company Eni's survey ship.

His comments come in the wake of Turkish efforts to disrupt exploration in potentially energy-rich waters off the coast of Cyprus. The discovery of vast gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean has become a point of contention with both Greeks and Turks laying claim to undersea territories where the gas is present. Various incidents have contributed to the tension over the past month, including a collision between Turkish and Greek ships.

Speaking after the Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades' address to EU leaders in Brussels, European Council President Donald Tusk told journalists the bloc was “urgently calling on Turkey" to terminate the activities that have led to recent incidents and emphasised that Greece and Cyprus had the “sovereign right” to explore for resources in the eastern Mediterranean.

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani expressed his solidarity with Anastasiades and warned Turkey that its "actions within Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) do not contribute to its European Union prospects," according to a Greek newspaper.