The Egyptian Foreign Ministry expressed concern over illegal drilling activities by Turkey in Cyprus’ special economic zone, the ministry announced in a press statement on Tuesday.
“Turkish unilateral actions increase tension in the Easter Mediterranean region, calls for de-escalation, and respecting the UN Law of the Sea and International Law,” the statement added.
On Monday, a Turkish ship planning to drill for oil and gas close to Cyprus dropped anchor off the Mediterranean island, triggering angry reactions from the European Union (EU), and Cyprus.
The EU said on Monday that the second attempt by Turkey to drill for oil and gas in Cyprus’s economic zone was an “unacceptable escalation,” having warned Ankara to stop its “illegal” activities or face sanctions.
EU head diplomat, Federica Mogherini, said in a statement on Monday that Turkey’s declared intention to illegally conduct a new drilling operation northeast of Cyprus is of grave concern.
Mogherini called on Turkish authorities to refrain from such actions, and respect the sovereignty and sovereign rights of Cyprus in accordance with International Law.
Furthermore, Cypriot Presidency issued a statement condemning Turkey’s actions, adding that “ Turkey continues to violate International Law … disrespecting calls of the EU and the international community.”
It said the second attempt was taking place off the Karpas peninsula, in the northeast of the island, and amounted to “an escalation of continued violations by Turkey.”
Earlier in 2018, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said that Turkey will face a confrontation from Egypt if it does not respect Cairo’s rights for the gas exploration deal with Greece and Cyprus.
Egypt has signed a maritime border demarcation agreement in 2013 with Cyprus for digging for oil in the zone.
In late June, a bipartisan bill in the United States Congress was ratified by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and if approved the bill would shift the US’s primary alliance in the Eastern Mediterranean from Ankara to Athens. Basically, it would allow the US to fully support the trilateral partnership of Israel, Greece, and Cyprus through energy and defence cooperation initiatives, as among the provisions in the bill are the lifting of the long-standing arms embargo on Cyprus.