Turkey claims oil drilling rights off South Cyprus

According to Cyprus Mail, quoting the Turkish daily newspaper Akşam,  three Turkish navy frigates left Izmir in order to prevent drilling in areas that Turkey allegedly claims lie in its own territorial waters or those of North Cyprus. One frigate apparently will sit six miles from Cyprus, in EEZ zone 1, and will be visible from Paphos. Three submarines are also reported to be in the area.

The fuss is about what Turkey and North Cyprus appear to be claiming ownership to, in effect half the area the south are claiming. Turkey is claiming EEZ zones 1-7, seemingly in retaliation to South Cyprus initiating drilling in zone 12.

One look at the diagram below shows you that these zones are strategically close to the coast of Cyprus while the ones being left are close to Israel. Whether Turkey will actually do anything and risk further jeopardising its EU entry hopes is anyone’s guess. Mind you, with EU entry looking less likely perhaps Turkey is out to upset the EU along with Israel and the south. It would be interesting to see who will come to the rescue of Cyprus should things turn sour. There are suggestions that the US and Russia are willing to intervene but probably not more than with words. Again it depends on how much they have to lose by alienating Turkey.


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