South rebuts Turkey’s marine territorial claims

The South Cyprus Government has accused Turkey of provocative behaviour when Turkey issued a directive to seafarers via NAVTEX claiming sovereignty over some areas already declared by the South as its own EEZ, ‘Famagusta Gazette’ reports.

On Friday evening, South Cyprus government spokesman Nikos Christodoulides said that his government had adopted a directive which proved the illegality of Turkey’s directive.

He warned of the serious effect that Turkey’s action could have on the peace talks if Turkey’s provocations in the South’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) continue and if there is any harassment of companies operating in the Cyprus’ EEZ.

“Harassment in any manner of the Company which operates within the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Republic, it is in no way compatible with the orderly conduct of the talks,” Christodoulides said.

He said that the issue was particularly significant as Turkey was violating the sovereign rights of the Cyprus Republic and the rights of ENI-KOGAS who was operating in the EEZ by agreement of the South.

ENI-KOGAS recently began test drilling operations in Bloc 9 of the South’s EEZ. Turkey has responded by accusing the South of being “one-sided” over the gas drilling operations.

“We have made ​​representations and will continue to make,” said the Spokesman suggesting that the Cyprus Government expects all those who have publicly talked about the inalienable sovereign right of Cyprus to exploit its Exclusive Economic Zone, to help terminating such occurrences,” the South’s spokesman continued.

Christodoulides said that, harassment in any way of the company which operates within the EEZ of the Republic, is in no way compatible with the orderly conduct of the talks,” adding that “this is a clear message that we expect to reach its target and to have results.”

Asked if he was implying that this issue could lead to the Cyprus talks ending, Christodoulides said that for such serious matters it was deeds and not words which most counted and that the government was continuously assessing the situation.

Asked if whether he meant even the ending of the talks, the government spokesman said that for such serious issues what counts most are the deeds and not words and that the Government was constantly assessing the situation.

He noted that a ministerial meeting had been held on Saturday on the matter in the presence of technocrats and that his government was waiting for developments.

Christodoulides also said that yesterday’s statement by the Turkish Foreign Ministry that followed the directive to seafarers, was reproducing the well-known Turkish argument that lacks any legal or other arguments.

He expressed the view that “it may be an indication of the inability of Turkey to deal with the problems of the region and possibly through such actions may want to create a crisis or other problems.”

“Our position is clear, accepted by the entire international community and we will continue our actions based on these data,” he said.

He went on to say that if the actual position of the Turkish President is that it is not in Turkey’s interest to maintain troops in Cyprus, we expect to see that through concrete actions, not words, said Christodoulides.

Invited to comment on what had followed the statements made by US Vice President Joe Biden on Turkey in a Harvard forum, Christodoulides said he would not comment on the dialogue and communications between the American and the Turkish Government, but rather he preferred to stand in support of Biden’s statement that the Turkish President had said that it would not be in Turkey’s interest to have troops in Cyprus.

“We believe in this, that there is no benefit for Turkey indeed there is a cost, but if that`s the real position and view of the Turkish President, we expect to see it through concrete actions and deeds, not words,” he concluded.

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