Despite US warnings, Turkey pushes envelope with Cyprus, Greece

Ankara is escalating its sharp rhetoric toward Cyprus and Greece due to the dispute over energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, stirring heightened concerns in Nicosia, Athens, and Washington.

The Turkish foreign ministry's 10 June announcement that in July Turkish Petroleum's two drilling ships - "Yavuz" (Ferocious) and "Fatih" (Conqueror) - will begin drilling in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Republic of Cyprus with the stated objective being protection of the rights of Turkish-Cypriots has caused heightened concerns in Nicosia and Athens.

On 10 June, the moderate Cypriot daily Phileleftheros reported that Nicosia - stiffening its posture - has issued international arrest warrants for 25 individuals directly or indirectly linked to Turkish Petroleum's (TPAO) illegal offshore drilling in Cyprus' EEZ.

The same day the Turkish foreign ministry issued a sharp response calling the warrants null and void and "a decision crossing the line".

"No one should have any doubt that the necessary response will be given, in case of such insolence," the statement read.

Ankara warns oil and gas companies

For the time being, Ankara has not indicated an intention to drill in blocks of Cyprus' EEZ for which Nicosia has awarded concessions to Western oil companies (ExxonMobil, Total, Eni), but rather in other parts of the EEZ in order project its power and claims.

At the same time, Ankara is warning companies that have won concessions in tenders that it does not recognise the legitimacy of those agreements and will not permit the creation of de facto situations in areas in which it considers it has an interest and in which it is seeking co-management of Cyprus' energy deposits and a...

Continue reading on: