The Turkish Navy practically encircled Cyprus on Tuesday with almost 20 vessels, including frigates and submarines, in the area.

The appearance of the vessels coincided with the launch of operations by the Yavuz drillship within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Cyprus, and at a time when there were no foreign military forces present in the region causing tension to mount.

Friction intensified after Ankara sent its Yavuz drillishiop to an area already licensed by Nicosia to Italian and French energy firms.

Western powers with economic interests in the region were absent during Turkey’s violation of international laws, showing that countries like France and the United States want to avoid a militarisation in the area.

Turkey’s behaviour in the Eastern Mediterranean was condemned by Greece, Cyprus and Egypt during a trilateral summit in Cairo on Tuesday.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias told Proto Thema radio station on Wednesday that Turkey’s activity in the Eastern Mediterranean was questioning Cyprus’ sovereignty. “We are playing on the chessboard of international law,” he said. “It would be an act of absolute folly to return to the time of 19th century gunboats.”

Athens and Nicosia are banding together in the hope that the European Union would take a stand at the upcoming Foreign Affairs Council and the Council Summit on 17 October. EU calls for Turkey to respect international laws have been ignored and it is hoped that a resolution can be found.

Neos Kosmos

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