European leaders have united behind the Republic of [South] Cyprus after Turkey deployed its drillship ‘Fatih’ offshore Cyprus last week.
European Council President Donald Tusk called on Turkey to “respect the sovereign rights of EU member states” at an informal meeting of EU leaders in Sibiu, Romania, on Thursday, after ‘Fatih’ entered waters in the Greek Cypriot administration’s Exclusive Economic Zone last week.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker added his own show of support, saying “(on this issue), I am Cypriot”.
On Thursday, British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt expressed “concern” about “Turkey’s announcement to begin drilling in Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone”.
“This situation must be de-escalated and all parties show restraint”, Hunt said. “Hydrocarbons development should benefit all Cypriots and support a settlement”, he added.
Turkey disputes the boundaries of [South] Cyprus’ EEZ, and strongly objects to exploitation of the island’s energy resources by the Greek Cypriots. It says that this infringes on the rights of Turkish Cypriots in North Cyprus.
On Tuesday, the Greek Cypriot authorities announced they were applying for international arrest warrants for the crew of the Turkish drillship ‘Fatih’ after it entered Cypriot waters.