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Cyprus President briefs his EU counterparts on Turkey's illegal actions

18/10/2019 10:07

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades will thoroughly inform his EU counterparts on the illegal Turkish actions in Cyprus` Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), Turkish threats concerning Famagusta and efforts to resume negotiations on the Cyprus problem, requesting the endorsement, at the highest political level, of the Foreign Affairs Council`s relevant conclusions, Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromos told the press in Brussels.

"At today`s European Council meeting, apart from the issue of Brexit, on which an EU-UK agreement has been reached and of course the big issue of Turkey`s invasion of Syria, as well as some other issues, there is on the agenda  the issue of Turkey`s illegal activities in the EEZ and the territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus," the spokesman said.

"The issue has been included on the agenda at the request of President Anastasiades and the President will present in detail Turkey`s ongoing illegal activities in Cyprus` EEZ," he noted.

The spokesman said that "in his speech the President will emphasize that Turkey`s actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the Aegean are  not isolated incidents and do not only concern Cyprus or Greece, but are part of a more general approach and strategy of Turkey which has a destabilizing effect and is constantly creating tension, as is the case of Syria."

Prodromou emphasized that "referring to the attempt to resume negotiations, the Secretary-General`s initiative, for which he will of course reiterate his our readiness, the  President  will also refer to the threats by the Turkish side concerning the fenced off city of Famagusta and will have the opportunity to report on the latest position of the Security Council, which called for the implementation of the UN resolutions and the return of the fenced off city of Famagusta (Varosha) to the lawful inhabitants and property owners. ".

The spokesman noted that in his speech, the President "will underline his proposals on the natural resources issue, rejecting all of Turkey`s objections, while of course reiterating the Greek Cypriot side`s desire for the resumption of the negotiations provided that Turkey will end all these climate-poisoning activities. "

He concluded by stating that President Anatasiades will request that the European Council endorses the conclusions "we already have from the Foreign Affairs Council on Turkey`s illegal activities and that this is reflected in the conclusions we will have tonight."

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Turkey has ignored numerous UN resolutions calling for the withdrawal of the Turkish troops and respect of the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The last round of negotiations, in the summer of 2017, at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

 According to a navigational warning issued by Turkey, Turkish drill ship "Yavuz", which has returned to Cyprus’ EEZ, will carry out drilling operations inside block 7, located off the south-western coast of Cyprus. Block 7 has been licensed by the government of Cyprus to France’s Total and Italy’s ENI for drilling operations.
"Yavuz”, was anchored off the island’s north-eastern coast on July 8 and operated within the territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus, until September 17, when it departed for a Turkish port in Mersin.
Moreover, Turkey issued a navigational telex (navtex), announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus and since 4 May 2019, the Turkish drill ship “Fatih” has been anchored 36 nautical miles west of Akamas peninsula. The area falls within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus. Ankara extended the navtex until November 1, 2019.
Cyprus has called on drill ship “Yavuz” and its supporting vessels to immediately cease illegal actions in the Republic’ Exclusive Economic Zone and its continental shelf.
A navigational telex (navtex), published on the website of the Joint Rescue and Coordination Centre (JRCC) stationed in Larnaca, also warned all those working on "Yavuz" and its supporting vessels that they will face consequences and an international arrest warrant will be issued against them.

EU Foreign Affairs Ministers agreed on Monday in Luxembourg that "a framework regime of restrictive measures targeting natural and legal persons responsible for or involved in the illegal drilling activity of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean is put in place” in light of Turkey’s continued illegal drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean. They invited the EU High Representative and the Commission to swiftly present proposals to this effect.

Varosha is the fenced off section of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, often described as ‘ghost town’. UN Security Council resolution 550 (1984) considers any attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the UN.

Efforts over the years for the legitimate citizens of Famagusta to return to the city have met with the refusal of the Turkish side, despite numerous decisions and resolutions by the UN, EU and other international institutions.