Brussels welcomes departure of drillship

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Brussels on Monday welcomed the departure of Turkish drillship Yavuz from Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone hoping to see similar moves from Ankara, European Commission spokesman Peter Stano told CNA.

Stano said at a briefing: “I can say that the departure of the Yavuz vessel constitutes another welcome step towards de-escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean and we hope to see similar and further moves in this direction, as it was outlined and discussed by the leaders at the (European) Council last week”.

Although Yavuz has departed Cyprus’ EEZ to return to Turkey, Turkish seismic research vessel Barbaros is still illegally operating inside designated Cypriot waters.

Last week, EU leaders strongly condemned violations of the sovereign rights of Cyprus, saying that they must stop.

The European Council also called on Ankara to accept the invitation by Cyprus to engage in dialogue, to settle all maritime-related disputes between the two countries.

This is unlikely as Turkey does not recognise Cyprus as a sovereign state.

The EU27 also warned Turkey it would review the matter in December and adopt sanctions if there was not a deescalation of tensions in the region.

Nicosia has also welcomed the Yavuz’s departure as a positive move which improves the climate but it said Turkey’s intentions are still unclear.