Cyprus has reacted furiously to the Turkish decision to send another drillship to the Mediterranean off Cyprus. Turkey has long been seeking oil and gas in waters that the EU considers to belong to the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus, the area off the coast to which a country can exercise rights.
Cyprus calls it a “serious escalation” and speaks of violations of sovereignty and “taunting tactics”. The country demands that the ship be recalled.
Turkey announced shortly afterwards that drill ship Yavuz will start drilling next Monday. The country believes that this part of the Mediterranean Sea belongs to the Turks.
Gas has recently been found in the area south of Cyprus. Both Turkey and Cyprus believe it is entitled to it. Cyprus is supported in this by the European Union, of which the country is a part.
The EU is eager for the gas. It would make EU countries less dependent on gas from Russia, and would help achieve the objective of eliminating polluting energy sources such as coal as much as possible.
The European Union has been angry for some time about the Turkish drilling in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus. Sanctions were imposed in July. Ministers then stated that these activities seriously damage relations between Brussels and Ankara.
The sanctions include the suspension of talks on an aviation agreement and the reduction of EU financial support for Turkey. The European Investment Bank (EIB) has also been called upon to review its loans to Turkey.