Turkey Drilling Off Cyprus Coast Risks EU Sanctions

  • The drilling vessel Yavuz will conduct exploration drilling near the coast of Cyprus in the Mediterranean sea from August 18 to September 15.
  • The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) defines an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as generally extending 200 nautical miles from shore.
  • EU is preparing the list of sanctions against Turkey.

Turkey has issued a new notification to captains of Mediterranean vessels, via the NAVTEX international automated notification system.  Sunday, as reported by NTV, NAVTEX is an international automated direct-printing service for promulgation of Maritime Safety Information (MSI), navigational and meteorological warnings, meteorological forecasts and other urgent safety-related messages to ships.

Furthermore, the  drilling vessel Yavuz will conduct exploration drilling near the coast of Cyprus in the Mediterranean sea from August 18 to September 15. Two other Turkish ships, Barbaros Hayreddin and Oruc Reis, are currently carrying out similar work in the Mediterranean.

Nikolaos (Nikos) Dendias (Greek: Νικόλαος Δένδιας; born 7 October 1959 in Corfu) is a Greek lawyer and politician of the conservative New Democracy party. He is a Member of the Hellenic Parliament for Corfu, and was Minister for National Defence from November 2014 to January 2015. As of 2019, he is the current Foreign Minister of Greece.

These actions of Ankara, capital seat of Turkey, were harshly received by Athens. Earlier, Cyprus issued a notification to the captains of Mediterranean vessels via NAVTEX about Turkey’s violation of the borders of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Cyprus.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) defines an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as generally extending 200 nautical miles from shore, within which the coastal state has the right to explore and exploit, and the responsibility to conserve and manage, both living and non-living resources.

Such provisions are covered by the  Articles 55-75 of the UN convention. It should be noted, Turkey systematically opposed  the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the TRNC also has rights to the resources in the area.

Yavuz, ex Deepsea Metro I, is a Turkey-flagged ultra deepwater drillship owned and operated by the Türkiye Petrolleri Anonim Ortaklığı. She is Turkey’s second drillship. it was launched in 2011.

Moreover, the Cypriot side stressed that it is “unauthorized and illegal actions of the drilling vessel Yavuz and its accompanying vessels in the EEZ and on the continental shelf of Cyprus”.

Cyprus; officially called the Republic of Cyprus is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean. The third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean, it is located south of Turkey; west of Syria and Lebanon; north of Egypt, Israel, and the Palestinian region of the Gaza Strip; and southeast of Greece.

On August 14, senior Democrat of the US Senate foreign Affairs Committee Robert Menendez (New Jersey) and Senator Chris van Hollen (Democrat from Maryland) called on US Secretary of state Michael Pompeo, along with the European Union, to impose sanctions against key sectors of the Turkish economy for actions in the Mediterranean sea.

On the same day, after an emergency meeting of the EU foreign Affairs Council and meetings in Vienna with Pompeo and Austrian Minister for European and Foreign Affairs Alexander Schallenberg, Greek Foreign Minister, Nikos Dendias, said that the list of sanctions against Turkey, which Greece requested from the EU services, is being compiled. France is also backing the sanctions demand. France has been long tired of the Erdogan politics and violations. It is time for Turkey to be removed from NATO. There should be severe penalties for the nation.

Nevertheless,  Turkish President, Tayyip Erdogan said that Ankara will continue exploration in the Mediterranean sea, despite the threat of sanctions.

Overall, it is time to deal with Turkey. The West gave too much leeway to Turkey. Yet, giving harsh sanctions to Russia. It should be equal across the board and turkey should be severely penalized. The EU should take a strong stance and implement the harshest sanctions and also immediate removal from NATO.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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