By Kyriacos Kyriacou-Nicosia
Turkey continues to demonstrate its military power against the weaker island of Cyprus. A Naval gunship ordered to “harass” drilling operations is still in marine Block 9 in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone.
There ENI-KOGAS is authorised by the Cypriot government to drill for oil and gas resources.
According to information, the two foreign companies, which are investing in Cyprus’ energy sector, have expressed concerns about the ship’s very close location which is considered dangerous for the personnel and generally the drilling operation.
Government sources insist that ENI-KOGAS are continuing their operations normally and do not anticipate that their drilling schedule will in any way be affected by the latest Turkish moves. The consortium’s ongoing operations at the Onasagoras reservoir are proceeding according to plan, the same sources added.
Never so intensively
Turkey has violated Cyprus’s air and sea many times before but not so intensively and dangerously.
Government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos, speaking to the press, said characteristically that “this is the biggest crisis with Turkey since 1974” (when Turkey invaded and captured 37% percent of the island’s territory).
Yesterday the Cypriot Council of political party leaders endorsed a suggestion by the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades to suspend UN-lead peace talks with the Turkish Cypriot side. The negotiations are aiming in unifying the divided island, since the Turkish invasion.
Furthermore, the parties have suggested a series of other measures against Turkey. Anastasiades and his Ministers of Defence and Foreign Affairs are contacting Foreign leaders and counterparts to inform them about the situation and Turkeys’ “provocative actions”.
Turkey has issued a NAVTEX (Navigational Telex), a notice to mariners advising that it was reserving Cyprus areas from October 20 to December 30.
Demands drilling operations to stop
Explaining Turkey’s actions, the Cypriot government says it demands the drilling operations to stop until negotiations between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides to unify the island come to positive end.
The government underlined that Cyprus – a recognized state since 1960 and member of the EU – has every right to exploit its natural sources.
The island relies on its gas and oil in order to recover economically. It is worth reminding that the country is currently under a Euro bailout program mainly due to a collapse of its banking sector.
Letter to Ban Ki-Moon
The President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades has asked today the UN Secretary General’s intervention to convince Turkey to refrain from violating Cyprus` sovereign rights in its Exclusive Economic Zone, warning that such actions “would give a heavy blow to the negotiations for the settlement of the Cyprus problem”.
In a letter to Ban Ki-Moon, President Anastasiades informs him about his decision to suspend his participation to the meetings with the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu on the 9th and 10th of October to allow, as he notes, the SG and other Governments to convince Turkey to reconsider.
UNSG adviser in Cyprus
The President, who announced a suspension to peace talks, is meeting today UNSG Special Adviser on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, who arrived on the island Monday afternoon, to discuss developments.
Later on the Special Adviser is also set to have a meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu.