‘Provocative rhetoric’: Greek and Cypriot FMs slam Turkey’s oil drilling move


Greece’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias, met with his Cypriot counterpart, Ioannis Kasoulides on Thursday in Nicosia. The pair accused Turkey of stroking tensions as Ankara prepares to drill for natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean next month.

Last week, Turkish Vice President, Fuat Oktay announced the nation’s newly purchased fourth drilling ship, Abdülhamid Han, will start operations on August 9, maintaining that: “hydrocarbon resources in the Mediterranean are not the toys of Greek Cypriots.”

“We expect it to come,” the Cypriot Foreign Minister told journalists after meeting with Dendias.

In a statement, Kasoulides said the planned drilling was part of “a crescendo of harsh and provocative rhetoric” from Ankara.

Turkey, which doesn’t recognize Cyprus as a sovereign state, treats much of the island’s offshore economic zone as its own, claiming rights in many of the 13 blocks off the country’s southern coast.

“I want to assure you that we are always in constant and close coordination, particularly in the face of an attempt to create a new fait accompli both on the ground and at sea, in violation of International Law and the International Law of the Sea”, Dendias said in a statement following the meeting.

Pointing to Turkey’s expected drilling directly, the Greek Minister said: “European Union decisions are in force and we expect Turkey to comply with them.”

Both said there will be consultation with other EU members on how to respond if Turkey tries to drill for oil and gas inside Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone.

When Kasoulides and Dendias spoke on the Cyprus issue, they both compared events in Cyprus to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but Dendias said the comparison ended there.

“Forty-eight years ago the international community did not respond to the invasion in Cyprus in the way it should have,” he said.

“And we have to remind all that the invasion of Ukraine is not the only case of invasion in Europe.”




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