Cyprus says Turkish warships continue to block drilling rig

An undated photo of the the Saipem 12000 drilling floater. Turkish warships continue to impede a rig from reaching a location off Cyprus where Italian energy company Eni is scheduled to drill for gas, the Cypriot government said Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides told state broadcaster RIK that the rig remains anchored about 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the drilling target off the island's southeastern coast. (Saipem via AP)

Cyprus' government spokesman says Turkish warships continue to impede a rig from reaching a target off the island nation where Italian energy company Eni plans to drill for gas

NICOSIA, Cyprus — Turkey faced criticism Monday after its warships continued to impede a rig from reaching a location off Cyprus where Italian energy company Eni is scheduled to drill for gas.

Cyprus government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides told state broadcaster RIK that the rig remains anchored about 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the drilling target off the island nation's southeastern coast.

He said both the government and Eni are focused on ensuring that drilling goes ahead as planned.

The Turkish warships also prevented other merchant vessels from approaching the area, citing ongoing military maneuvers, Christodoulides said. Cyprus says a Turkish notice blocking off the area for military activity violates international law and is legally invalid.

In 1974, Cyprus was divided into a Greek Cypriot south, where the internationally recognized government is seated, and a Turkish Cypriot north that only Turkey recognizes and where over 35,000 Turkish troops are stationed.

Turkey opposes the oil drilling, saying it disregards the rights of breakaway Turkish Cypriots to the island's natural resources.

The Cypriot government says it has a sovereign right to drill for gas and that if the search is successful, any income would be shared equitably if the island is reunified.

Greece's foreign ministry condemned what it said was Turkey's disregard for international law and the "blatant violation" of Cyprus' sovereign rights.

It also said that Turkey's "provocative" behavior wasn't appropriate for a country that has worked to join the European Union membership.

The EU cautioned Turkey to respect the territory of its member states and to avoid ratcheting up tensions. Cyprus joined the EU in 2004, but only the southern part enjoys full membership benefits.

"Turkey needs to commit unequivocally to good neighborly relations and avoid any kind of source of friction, threat or action directed against a member state" European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said.

EU Council President Donald Tusk echoed Andreeva. In a post on his official Twitter account, Tusk said he spoke to Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and called on Turkey to "avoid threats or actions" against EU members and to commit to "peaceful dispute settlement."

Turkey has in the past routinely issued notices binding areas south of Cyprus for naval drills in response to the island nation's hydrocarbons search. But it's the first time that it has taken such a step to prevent drilling.

Last week, Cyprus said Eni had discovered a potentially sizeable gas deposit at another target southwest of the island.

____

Lorne Cooke in Brussels contributed to this report.

Related News

Iran's working class, facing dim prospects, fuels...

Jan 6, 2018

Iran's protests over the past week have been centered in dozens of long-neglected cities and towns,...

Egypt places colossus of Ramses II in atrium of...

Jan 25, 2018

Egypt places giant statue of Ramses II in entrance hall of antiquities museum under construction...

Egypt thanks Eni for gas field efforts despite...

Jan 31, 2018

Egypt's president has again accused unknown parties of being behind the 2016 murder of an Italian...

Egypt says 4,400-year-old tomb discovered outside...

Feb 3, 2018

Archaeologists in Egypt say they have discovered 4,400-year-old tomb near the pyramids outside Cairo

Rare dinosaur discovery in Egypt could signal...

Feb 6, 2018

Researchers have discovered a new species of dinosaur in the Egyptian desert, a long-necked...

President says Egypt 'scored a goal' with Israel...

Feb 21, 2018

Egypt's president says his country 'scored a goal' with $15 billion Israeli gas deal

Peaple also read these

Iran's working class, facing dim prospects, fuels...

Jan 6, 2018

Iran's protests over the past week have been centered in dozens of long-neglected cities and towns,...

Rare dinosaur discovery in Egypt could signal...

Feb 6, 2018

Researchers have discovered a new species of dinosaur in the Egyptian desert, a long-necked...

Iran begins construction on 2nd nuclear power...

Sep 10, 2016

Iran has begun building its second nuclear power plant with Russian help, the first such project...

Iran's president criticizes US after Trump's...

May 22, 2017

Iran's re-elected President Rouhani describes relations with US as 'a curvy road'

Iran oil tanker explodes, sinks off China with no...

Jan 14, 2018

Burning Iranian oil tanker, explodes and sinks after more than a week listing off the coast of China

Sign up now!

About Us

What if you could see what will happen to the world in the next 10 years? In The Daily Futurist, we explore mostly on geography, archaeology and natural science. See the future here in The Daily Futurist.

Contact us: sales@thedailyfuturist.com