Cyprus has issued arrest warrants for the crew of a Turkish drill ship anchored close to its coast for allegedly infringing territory over which the island has rights to explore for oil and gas, a foreign ministry official said on Thursday.
"We can confirm that warrants were issued. It's a double digit number," the Cypriot official said, declining further comment.
Turkey has sent a drilling vessel inside Cyprus' exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and it is likely considering similar activities in areas close to the Dodecanese island of Kastellorizo - areas that Athens sees as a part of Greece's EEZ. Whereas the Republic of Cyprus is restricted to a diplomatic response, a Greek government would hardly be able to ignore such a move on Ankara's part.
On the eve of the latest legislation in the United States House of Representatives putting pressure on Turkey over its S-400 missile system purchase, Nicholas Danforth - a veteran Turkey analyst at the German Marshall Fund - posted a warning on Twitter that perfectly captured the dilemma in US-Turkey relations:
In the presence of Deputy Minister of Culture Amelia Gesheva, Turkish Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism Ougul Oskan Yavuz will be handed over artifacts of archeological origin held by the Bulgarian Customs Authorities at Kapitan Andreevo Border Checkpoint in October 2016 for illegal imports from Turkish citizen, the Ministry of Culture announced.