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UK deplores Turkish drilling in Cyprus waters

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Britain deplores Turkish drilling in the waters around Cyprus and calls for de-escalation, a British High Commission spokesperson in Nicosia told the Cyprus News Agency.

He was commenting on Turkey’s new plan to start illegal drilling in the southern EEZ/continental shelf of Cyprus, in exploration block 8.

“The UK has consistently stated our support for the Republic of Cyprus’ sovereign right to exploit the oil and gas in its internationally agreed Exclusive Economic Zone,” the British High Commission spokesperson said.

“The most enduring way of resolving difficult issues such as this is to achieve a Cyprus settlement. We encourage all parties to redouble their efforts in pursuit of this,” he added

“We continue to believe Cyprus’ oil and gas should be developed for the benefit of all Cypriots.”

Turkey has dispatched its drillship Yavuz to conduct drilling off Limassol.

Nicosia has condemned Turkey’s renewed drilling initiative as an act of “piracy”.

It said Turkey is “provocatively ignoring the repeated calls by the international community and the European Union, to terminate its illegal activities in Cyprus’ EEZ”.

Turkey has earmarked exploration block 8, which the Republic of Cyprus has licensed to energy giants ENI of Italy and France’s Total.

“This new attempted drilling constitutes yet another flagrant violation of the sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the Republic of Cyprus…completely disregards the international EEZ delimitation agreements already in force between Cyprus and Israel, Cyprus and Egypt,” a statement by the Cyprus Presidency said.