Five Countries Condemn Turkish Drilling Operations in the Mediterranean

The foreign ministers of Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, France and the United Arab Emirates denounced the “illegal Turkish activities in progress” in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Cyprus and its territorial waters, during a teleconference on Monday to discuss the latest developments in the eastern Mediterranean, as well as a number of regional crises that threaten peace and stability in this region.

In their joint statement released after the teleconference, the ministers said that these activities represented “a gross violation of international law”, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Turkey is currently making its sixth attempt in less than a year to conduct drilling operations in the maritime areas of Cyprus.

“The ministers called on Turkey to fully respect the sovereignty of all states and their sovereign rights in their maritime areas of the eastern Mediterranean,” their statement said.

The five ministers also condemned the escalation of Turkish violations of Greek national airspace, including over flights over populated areas and territorial waters.

Turkey first sent a drill ship escorted by a warship in July last year.Turkish research vessels are also carrying out seismic surveys inside Cyprus’s economic zone.

The EU has repeatedly condemned Turkey’s exploration off Cyprus, saying the activity breached the sovereign rights of a member nation.

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