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Turkish president says Cyprus should not 'overstep the mark' after ship incident

15 February 2018

Cyprus is ethnically divided, and Turkey, which supports a breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in north Cyprus, says Greek Cypriots have no jurisdiction to explore for natural gas.

After speaking to the Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, President of the European Council, said: "I call on Turkey to avoid threats or actions against any EU member and instead commit to good neighbourly relations, peaceful dispute settlement and respect for territorial sovereignty".

The Turkish warships also prevented other merchant vessels from approaching the area, citing ongoing military maneuvers, Christodoulides said.

The Greek foreign ministry praised the Cypriot government for its "cool-headed and sober stance" over Turkey's provocations.

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Greece's foreign ministry on Monday condemned Turkey's violation of Cyprus' exclusive economic zone (EEZ) after Turkish warships harassed an Italian-interest rig digging for hydrocarbon in the Eastern Aegean, according to greekreporter.

Her charterer, Italian oil major Eni, said that the vessel was stopped by Turkish naval vessels on the premise that there was military activity in the area.

Last week, Cyprus said Eni had discovered a potentially sizeable gas deposit at another target southwest of the island.

Cypriot officials are claiming the act violated global law because the forced move constituted military activity in the disputed area.

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"Turkey must end the violations of worldwide law and acts that do not contribute in the development of the two countries" relations, ' it said.

Turkey and Cyprus have faced-off regarding natural resources in the Mediterranean in the past, especially because of Ankara's ongoing argument that the northern portion of the island belongs to Turkey.

'We are handling the situation by trying to avoid anything that could worsen the situation without ignoring the fact that Turkey's actions are in breach of global law'.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry denied the Turkish vessel was at fault.

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Turkey and Cyprus have long argued over the eastern Mediterranean, and Ankara has been stringent in defending the claims of Turkish Cypriots for a share of energy resources.

Turkish president says Cyprus should not 'overstep the mark' after ship incident