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Athens denounces Turkey’s planned drilling off Cyprus

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The Greek Foreign Ministry strongly condemns Turkey’s planned drilling within Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf, saying Ankara’s illegal actions neither have legal effect nor create fait accompli.

In a statement, the Greek Foreign Ministry said that Turkey’s planned drills inside areas which are licensed to European companies violate international law.

This move “forms part of a series of Turkish violations of international law in the region, which extend from invasion and occupation, airspace violations and violations of territorial waters, to violations of the sovereign rights and attempts of usurpation of maritime resources of other regional states”.

Greece said such illegal actions serve Turkey’s expansionist aspirations, by attempting to create a fait accompli within territories of other states.

Turkey’s intention to dispatch Yavuz in Cyprus’ EEZ, does not contribute to an environment conducive to dialogue in good faith, Peter Stano, European Commission spokesman stated.

He said, “following the latest announcement by the Turkish Authorities that the drilling ship Yavuz is going to be dispatched for a new drilling operation, the EU recalls its position concerning Turkey’s illegal drilling activities in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone”.

“Concrete steps towards creating an environment conducive to dialogue in good faith are needed. The intention by Turkey to launch further exploration and drilling activities in the wider region goes, regrettably, in the opposite direction,” Stano added.

Brussels has warned Turkey it will impose targeted sanctions if it continues illegal operations within Cyprus waters.

“The international law of the sea, the principle of good neighbourly relations and the sovereignty and sovereign rights over the maritime zones of all Member States have to be respected. All members of the international community must abide by these principles and should refrain from any actions undermining regional stability and security”, the spokesman said.