South Cyprus has sent a letter of protest to the UN claiming Turkey violated its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) when the seismographic vessel ‘Barbaros Hayreddin Pasha’ entered its waters between 12th December 2013 and 14th January this year.
Last month the government expressed outrage after a Turkish frigate forced a Norwegian seismic vessel searching for hydrocarbons in the South’s EEZ to leave the area, claiming it had entered Turkish territorial waters.
Reports had said the ‘Princess’ had been carrying research in bloc 9 – off Cyprus’ south coast – inside the South’s EEZ when the incident happened. However, officials later said that the event occurred further west, near bloc 7.
The Foreign Minister said that the letter also referred to Turkey’s commitment to conducting seismic surveys in an area that the South claims as its own EEZ west of the Akamas peninsula in northwest Cyprus between 27th January and 13th May.
The problem of sea territory between Turkey and Cyprus arises because in 2004 South Cyprus claimed its EEZ in accordance with the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which it had ratified. However, Turkey never ratified the 1982 Convention.
Turkey’s particular objections are that it does not recognise the state that exercised sovereign power to grant explorative and drilling rights in Cyprus’ EEZ. The sovereignty of Cyprus is in principle shared between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. It also adds that unless there is a solution to the Cyprus problem, the present Greek Cypriot-controlled government should not engage in exploiting its EEZ unless and until the Cyprus problem is resolved.