Tuesday

24th Apr 2018

EU warns Turkey over 'threat' to Cyprus

  • Europe minister Omar Celik will meet EU foreign ministers later this week. (Photo: eu2016sk/Flickr)

The EU warned Turkey on Monday (12 February) to refrain from any "threat" against Cyprus, after a Turkish vessel prevented an Italian ship from reaching a drilling zone for gas off the Cypriot coast.

"Turkey needs to commit unequivocally to good neighbourly relations and avoid any kind of source of friction, threat, or action directed against a member state," a European Commission spokeswoman said in Brussels.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

She insisted that Turkey's behaviour "damages good neighbourly relations and the peaceful settlement of disputes."

"The EU stresses the need to respect the sovereignty of member states over their territorial sea and airspace," she added, also with reference to regular Turkish incursions in Greek sea and airspace.

Tensions increased last Friday after Turkish vessels stopped the Siam 12000, a floating rig belonging to Italian firm ENI.

The Saipem 12000 was told not to enter the zone where it was supposed to drill, "because there would be military activities in the destination area," an ENI spokesman said, adding that the rig "prudently executed the orders."

Three days before, the Turkish navy had reserved - for military training - an area in the Mediterranean sea that included part of Cyprus' exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Under UN rules, EEZ is a sea zone where, under UN rules, countries have special rights for economic activities.

But Turkey does not accept Cyprus' EEZ, saying that it does not take into account the interests of the northern part of Cyprus. Turkey occupied the north of Cyprus militarily and is the only country to recognise it as a state.

The dispute is all the more acute, given that the EEZ is thought to contain important reserves of gas and oil.

On Sunday, the Turkish government denounced Cyprus' "unilateral" drilling, which it said undermined the ''inalienable rights on natural resources of Turkish-Cypriots''.

"Turkey's actions are violating international law," Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades also said on Sunday.

He said that his government would take the "necessary steps," but added that he wanted to "avoid anything which could escalate the crisis."

'Step further'

The Italian government, for its part, said on Monday that it was monitoring the situation and would take "all possible diplomatic steps to resolve the issue."

The escalation in Cyprus' EEZ comes a week after Anastasiades was re-elected president of Cyprus, and amid hopes that peace talks could start again between him and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, after a previous effort failed last year.

Turkish vessels regularly patrol in the eastern Mediterranean to put pressure on Cyprus and oil and gas companies.

But Friday's blocking of the Italian rig is "a step further", a source told EUobserver after the commission's warning to Turkey.

Turkey's Europe minister, Omer Celik, will meet with EU foreign affairs ministers and EU high representative Federica Mogherini in Sofia later this week.

The tension over Cyprus is likely to be discussed, within other EU-Turkey issues, but no Mogherini-Celik bilateral discussion has been scheduled yet.

EU to pump €101m into Cyprus gas network

The EU also agreed on financing a study into the Southern Gas Corridor, to send a signal that the EU is still invested in the project - but leaves questions over renewable energy sources.

Feature

Spanish navy makes bid for EU anti-pirate HQ

Spanish special forces seized a boat from 'African pirates' as diplomats looked on in a drill on Monday, marking Spain's bid to grab the EU's top military mission from the UK over Brexit.

Analysis

Is Germany more hawkish on Russia?

Germany's socialist foreign minister just said the EU should "step up pressure" on Russia. Merkel aired "political" doubts on a Russian pipeline.

News in Brief

  1. Far-right attack migrants on Greek island
  2. Merkel defends accepting UN refugees
  3. EU commissioner plans Malta 'money laundering' inspection
  4. Survey: Half of high polluting farms receive CAP subsidies
  5. Commission will 'not shy away' from Malta killing repercussions
  6. EU Commission opens probe on Alitalia state loan
  7. Paris suspect given 20-year sentence for Brussels shoot-out
  8. Merkel and Pena Nieto praise EU-Mexico trade agreement

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers12 Recommendations for Nordic Leadership on Climate and Environment
  2. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  3. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  4. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  6. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  7. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  8. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  9. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  10. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  11. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight

Latest News

  1. Spanish navy makes bid for EU anti-pirate HQ
  2. How Russian propaganda depicts Europe - should we worry?
  3. MEPs tell Chinese ambassador of concerns on trade
  4. Greenland votes with eye on independence
  5. EU court delivers blow to anti-abortion activists
  6. Hungary activists defiant after 'Soros Mercenaries' attack
  7. European Commission proposes whistleblower protection law
  8. Secrecy of VW fraud report 'unacceptable', says MEP