Apr 07 2018

Turkey sending exploration vessel back into Cypriot waters

Greece has warned Turkey after it became clear that a Turkish energy exploration vessel was heading back towards Cypriot waters, Greek newspaper Kathimerini said.

Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said that Turkey should be reasonable, "as the strategy of aggravation it has chosen is not beneficial for Turkey or for the broader region.”

“I think sooner or later our neighbours will realise that," he added.

The Turkish ship Barbaros will carry out seismic surveys for hydrocarbon reserves off the coast of the island of Cyprus, which is divided between the southern Greek Cypriot-dominated Republic of Cyprus (RoC) and the northern Turkish Cypriot-dominated Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

Turkey has argued that attempts by the south to exploit the island’s offshore energy reserves are void without the consent of the north.

However, any attempts by Turkey to extract those reserves on behalf of the TRNC are likely to be resisted equally strongly by Greece and the RoC.

The news comes as a senior U.S. Department of Defence official prepares to make a formal visit to Greece and the Republic of Cyprus.

Turkey’s drift away from the United States has come at a time when it is also having problems in its relations with Greece and Cyprus.

Thomas W. Goffus, deputy assistant secretary of defense for European and NATO Policy, will meet officials including Cyprus Defense Minister Savvas Angelides, to discuss bilateral cooperation in defense matters.