Cyprus Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis has briefed, together with Greece`s Energy and Environment Minister Kostis Hadjidakis, their counterparts participating at the East Med Gas Forum (EMGF), in Cairo, on Thursday of the latest Turkish provocations.
In statements to CNA, Lakkotrypis said that that they briefed the other ministers of Turkey`s recent illegal activities and stressed in public that cooperation such as the one which took place with the signature of the EMGF`s foundation charter, should constitute examples to be followed by all countris it the region, in order to find solutions to their common problems and challenges.
Hadjidakis said that during his intervention, he spoke of Turkey`s role and said that Greece would certainly wish for Turkey`s cooperation, provided that the international law is respected.
Obviously, he added, “all Turkey`s actions in Cyprus` Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) are pointing entirely to the opposite direction.” This, he said, is precisely what the memorandum of understanding between Turkey`s President Tayyip Erdogan and GNA head Fayez Al Sarraj have signed is about since through that “they decided to delimitate the maritime zones between Libya and Turkey when they do not share common borders.”
According to Lakkotrypis the East Med Gas Forum will be funded by the EU during the next two years with €0,5 million, but is also supported by the United States and France.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Turkey has ignored numerous UN resolutions calling for the withdrawal of the Turkish troops and respect of the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus.
Turkey announced its intention to start drilling off Cyprus and send on 4 May 2019 the Turkish drill ship “Fatih”, which remains anchored 36 nautical miles west of Akamas peninsula, in an area that falls within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus. A second Turkish drill ship, “Yavuz”, arrived off the island’s north-eastern coast on 8 July 2019.
In response, EU Foreign Ministers endorsed on 15 July 2019 measures concerning Turkey’s illegal drilling in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Cyprus. In accordance with the 20 June 2019 European Council conclusions, Foreign Ministers also invited the High Representative and the European Commission to continue working on options for targeted measures in light of Turkey’s continued drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Egypt, France, Cyprus and Greece strongly condemned continued Turkish actions in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus and its territorial waters,in a joint communique issued by the four countries` Foreign Affairs Ministers on January 8 after a meeting in Cairo, in which the Italian Foreign Affairs Minister also took part “in a consultative framework.” They also deemed that recent memoranda of understanding between Turkey and Libya are in violation of international law and any decision to send troops to Libya to be a serious violation of UN resolutions and have called on Turkey “to act responsibly.”