The United States considers the activities of Turkish drillship Yavuz off the north-eastern coast of Cyprus as unlawful and urges the Turkish authorities to cease them immediately and remove the drillship from the Republic of Cyprus’ territorial sea.
Responding to a question by the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), a State Department spokesperson noted that “only the Republic of Cyprus, acting through its government, can consent to activities such as drilling within its territorial sea.”
“The United States is concerned about the activities of the drillship Yavuz, which is operating within the territorial sea of the Republic of Cyprus. This provocative step raises tensions in the region,” he noted.
“We urge Turkish authorities to cease unlawful activities immediately and to remove the Yavuz from the Republic of Cyprus’ territorial sea,” he stressed.
Moreover, he said that “we encourage all parties to act with restraint. Resource development in the Eastern Mediterranean should promote cooperation and provide a foundation for durable energy security and economic prosperity throughout the region,” he added.
“We continue to support development of an equitable solution for sharing the benefits of Cyprus’ hydrocarbon resources between the two communities,” the US State Department spokesperson concluded.
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.
Turkey announced its intention to start drilling off Cyprus and send on 4 May 2019 the Turkish drill ship “Fatih”, which remains anchored 36 nautical miles west of Akamas peninsula, in an area that falls within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus. “Yavuz”, arrived off the island’s north-eastern coast on 8 July 2019.
In response, EU Foreign Ministers endorsed on 15 July 2019 measures concerning Turkey’s illegal drilling in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Cyprus. In accordance with the 20 June 2019 European Council conclusions, Foreign Ministers also invited the High Representative and the European Commission to continue working on options for targeted measures in light of Turkey’s continued drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.