Washington said the activities of Turkish drillship Yavuz are unlawful and urged Ankara to cease them immediately and remove the drillship from the Republic of Cyprus’ territorial waters.
A US State Department spokesperson told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), “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 added.
“We urge Turkish authorities to cease unlawful activities immediately and to remove the Yavuz from the Republic of Cyprus’ territorial sea.”
The spokesperson encouraged 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.
“We continue to support the development of an equitable solution for sharing the benefits of Cyprus’ hydrocarbon resources between the two communities.”
In May Turkish drillship Fatih violated Cyprus waters to explore for hydrocarbons, it remains anchored 36 nautical miles west of the Akamas peninsula, in an area that falls within the Exclusive Economic Zone and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus.
A second ship the Yavuz, arrived off the island’s north-eastern coast on 8 July to begin drilling activity.
In response, Brussels imposed sanctions on Turkey over its illegal drilling in the EEZ of Cyprus.
In accordance with the 20 June 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.