Turkish naval vessels have intercepted the route of a ship belonging to the Italian oil exploration company Eni, which was on its way to explore the recently discovered gas reserves in Cypriot waters.
On Sunday, Cypriot media reported that Turkish warships were conducting manoeuvres in the region, and pointed out that the incident occurred last Friday.
The Turkish military warned the ship’s crew of continuing the journey, because the region will witness military manoeuvres, according to what a spokesman of the Italian company told to the Associated Press news agency, which confirmed that the ships will remain in place.
Cyprus said the drillship Saipem 12000 was on its way from a south-south-west location of Cyprus towards an area in the southeast of the island when it was stopped by Turkish warships.
In a news conference in Nicosia, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said that Cyprus is taking the necessary steps regarding the matter, adding that the Cypriot authorities’ actions reflect the exhortation to avoid anything that could lead to an escalation of the situation without, of course, ignoring Turkey’s violation of international law.
For his turn, Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulidis stated that his country is conducting excessive contacts with the company and the Italian government regarding the ship’s matter.
In the same context, the Cypriot ambassador in Cairo expressed his concern about the Turkish escalation in the Mediterranean Sea and stressed on the Turkish government’s inability to threaten the Egyptian-Cypriot interests in the Mediterranean Sea, especially that the agreement between Egypt and Cyprus had been concluded years ago, the gas had been already explored and production was done. Thus, they cannot threaten our “interests.”
The Cypriot ambassador expressed his country’s intention to establish an Egyptian-Cyprus Parliamentary Friendship Association.
On January 28, Turkish Coast Guard forces prevented Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos from approaching a military boat from the Turkish Çardakrocky islands in the Aegean Sea.
Last week, Egypt warned Turkey against trying to undermine its sovereignty over its economic zone in the eastern Mediterranean after Ankara announced it had not endorsed the 2013 agreement of demarcation of the maritime Egyptian-Cypriot borders.
The official website of the Egyptian Ministry of Defence broadcasted a documentary showing the protection of the Mistral helicopter carrier of the Eastern Mediterranean gas fields.
Entitled Amaliqat Al-Bahr (Sea Giants), the documentary showed the Egyptian marine protecting the natural gas field of the Mediterranean Sea, using modern naval vessels of Mistral.