Armenia urges Turkey to cease all activities within Cyprus EEZ

Clay Curtis
July 11, 2019

Cyprus says Turkey is encroaching in waters where the east Mediterranean island nation has exclusive economic rights, and Ankara's actions are contrary to global law.

"The United States remains deeply concerned by Turkey's repeated attempts to conduct drilling operations in the waters off Cyprus", the State Department said in a statement.

The EU had already urged Turkey last month to stop its gas drilling in waters around Cyprus.

"This provocative step raises tensions in the region", it added.

Ankara's Fatih vessel entered Cyprus' exclusive economic zone in the west and has started drilling, while the Yavuz has been deployed to search for oil and gas in the east.

In June, E.U. leaders warned Turkey to end drilling in waters around the island or face action from the bloc.

Cyprus has been split between a Turkish Cypriot north and Greek Cypriot south since 1974 when Turkey sent troops to the island in response to a Greek military coup.

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Turkey's announcement came amid tensions with the European Union, which has called on Ankara to cease its "illegal" activities.

"We reject the statement made by Greek Foreign Ministry and European Union officials that deem our country's activities illegal", it added.

Turkey contends that its current exploration off Greek Cyprus' waters abide by the global law, as they are taking place in worldwide waters off Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus.

Meanwhile, the US government on Monday expressed concern over Turkey's drill activities in the Mediterranean Sea, calling on the Turkish government to halt the activities.

The Greek south has global recognition while only Turkey recognizes the government in the north.

Cyprus authorities have reportedly issued arrest warrants for the crew of the Fatih for having breached the sovereignty of the Greek island.

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