On Tuesday, Greece and Cyprus announced that the European Union’s foreign ministers are discussing a list of sanctions that could be imposed on Turkey. This is due to the country’s repeated violations in the eastern Mediterranean.
The foreign ministers of Greece and Cyprus confirmed that “illegal Turkish behaviour will be discussed at the coming G7 summit.” The two ministers also condemned Turkey’s exploration activities in waters south of the Greek island of Kastellorizo, noting that “Turkey’s calls for dialogue are not serious.”
Cyprus on Monday criticized its EU partners for what it calls “a policy of appeasement” in dealing with Turkey. This is after Greece failed to secure a stronger commitment from the bloc for sanctions against Ankara, for its seismic surveys off the Cypriot coast.
The Turkish Navy stated late on Saturday that the drill ship Yavuz, which has been based off Cyprus for the past few months, will explore the southwestern coast of the island from the 18th of August to the 15th of September. The Yavuz will be accompanied by three other Turkish ships, and according to a maritime notice, “all vessels are strongly advised not to enter” the area.
This is the latest push by Turkey to resume hydrocarbon exploration in the area. This prompted a backlash from Greece earlier in the month when the Oruc Reis research vessel began exploration in an area of the east Mediterranean that Athens claims as part of its own continental shelf.
With two vessels now encroaching on waters claimed by Cyprus and Greece respectively, Turkey says the initial decision to resume drilling was a direct response to a new deal between Greece and Egypt, whereby the two countries have outlined their exclusive drilling rights in the contested waters.