Friday

23rd Feb 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.

EU warns Turkey over 'threat' to Cyprus

The European Commission called on Ankara to refrain from doing "damage to good neighbourly relations", after Turkish vessels stop a rig from reaching a gas drilling zone.

News in Brief

  1. Report: EU to increase sanctions on Myanmar
  2. Juncker 'worried' by Italian elections
  3. EU migration to UK at lowest since 2012
  4. MEP Andrieu will chair parliament pesticide committee
  5. Juncker's right-hand man warns of 'institutional blockage'
  6. Greek parliament to open probe on PMs and EU commissioner
  7. May gathers Brexit ministers to hammer out UK position
  8. Tajani asks Juncker for all EMA Brexit relocation documents

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  2. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  3. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  5. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  6. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  8. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  9. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  11. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  12. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. EU leaders to kick off post-Brexit budget debate
  2. Greek government's steady steps to exit bailout programme
  3. Frontex: Europe's new law enforcement agency?
  4. Poland and Greece broke EU environment laws, rules court
  5. Dutch MPs vote on ending 'Ukraine-type' referendums
  6. Corruption report: Hungary gets worse, Italy makes progress
  7. UK seeks flexible transition length after Brexit
  8. Commission defence of Barroso meeting leaves 'discrepancies'