Merkel expresses concern over Turkey’s activities in Cyprus EEZ: report

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Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed concern over Turkish activities in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the need for international law to prevail during a telephone conversation on Thursday evening with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, the In-Cyprus new website reported.

In a written statement about the telephone conversation, Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said President Anastasiades “informed the Chancellor over the recent development in the Cyprus problem and Turkey’s illegal actions in the Cypriot EEZ, and they discussed the forthcoming meeting of the European Council.”

“They also exchanged views on the ongoing Turkish invasion and military operations of Turkey in Syria, which violate international law,” Prodromou added.

During the conversation, he noted, the German chancellor “expressed her concern over Turkish activities in the Cypriot EEZ and the need for international law to prevail.”

According to a navigational warning issued by Turkey, Turkish drill ship Yavuz, which has returned to Cyprus’ EEZ, will carry out drilling operations inside block 7, located off the southwestern coast of Cyprus. Block 7 has been licensed by the government of Cyprus to France’s Total and Italy’s ENI for drilling operations.

The Yavuz was anchored off the island’s northeastern coast on July 8 and operated within the territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus, until Sept. 17, when it departed for a Turkish port in Mersin.

Moreover, Turkey issued a navigational telex (navtex) announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus and since May 4 the Turkish drill ship Fatih has been anchored 36 nautical miles west of the Akamas Peninsula. The area falls within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus. Ankara extended the navtex until Nov. 1, 2019.

Cyprus has called on drill ship Yavuz and its supporting vessels to immediately cease illegal actions in the republic’ EEZ and its continental shelf.

A navtex published on the website of the Joint Rescue and Coordination Centre (JRCC) stationed in Larnaca also warned all those working on Yavuz and its supporting vessels that they would face consequences and that an international arrest warrant would be issued for them.

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. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The last round of negotiations, in the summer of 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana, ended inconclusively.

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