Head of EU diplomacy Federica Mogherini has said that Turkey’s activities in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus are very worrying for the EU.

Mogherini was replying to a question on Turkey at a press conference in Barcelona after the conclusion of the 4th Regional Forum of Union of the Mediterranean. Cypriot Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Christodoulides also took part in the forum.

“Our position on the military intervention that Turkey is undertaking in North Syria is clear we asked Turkey to stop it,” she said, adding that “we believe the consequences will be extremely dangerous.”

On the other side, she pointed out, “there are other issues worrying us a lot, some of them were also raised today, connected to some of the other Turkish activities in the region.” To that effect she noted that she is thinking “of the drillings in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone and other things.”

Referring once more on the military intervention of Turkey in Syria she reiterated that the EU has asked Turkey to stop, adding that “we believe that it is also in the interest of Turkey to do so.”

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, who was asked earlier today to comment on the Turkish military offensive in Syria said that this is “another unacceptable and arbitrary activity of Turkey, which is being condemned, at least by our own family, the EU, and I do not think that it is justified in any way.”

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 south-western coast of Cyprus. Block 7 has been licensed by the government of Cyprus to France’s Total and Italy’s ENI for drilling operations.

“Yavuz”, was anchored off the island’s north-eastern coast on July 8 and operated within the territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus, until September 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 4 May 2019, the Turkish drill ship “Fatih” has been anchored 36 nautical miles west of Akamas peninsula. The area falls within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus. Ankara extended the navtex until November 1, 2019.

Cyprus has called on drill ship “Yavuz” and its supporting vessels to immediately cease illegal actions in the Republic’ Exclusive Economic Zone and its continental shelf.

A navigational telex (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 will face consequences and an international arrest warrant will be issued against 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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