By Aryeh Savir/TPS • 10 July, 2019
Israel Expressed “serious concern” over Turkey’s recent expedition to drill for oil and gas in the Mediterranean off the coast of Cyprus.
“Israel follows with serious concern recent steps taken by Turkey in the waters off Cyprus’ northeast coast and reiterates its full support and solidarity with Cyprus in exercising its sovereign rights in its maritime areas and its opposition to any attempt to violate these rights,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon stated Wednesday.
Israel in recent years has fostered its ties with Cyprus and Greece, especially on the issue of energy, and has grown distant from Ankara, which has become more Islamic and increasingly anti-Israel.
The European Union (EU) has called on Turkey to cease its actions.
“Turkey’s declared intention to illegally conduct a new drilling operation northeast of Cyprus is of grave concern,” the EU foreign policy branch state Monday. “This second planned drilling operation, two months after the start of the ongoing drilling operations west of Cyprus, violates the sovereignty of Cyprus.”
The EU diplomats met Wednesday to discuss possible sanctions against Turkey.
The US State Department on Tuesday called on Turkey to halt the drilling operations.
“This provocative step raises tensions in the region. We urge Turkish authorities to halt these operations and encourage all parties to act with restraint and refrain from actions that increase tensions in the region,” the State Department said in a statement.
Cyprus has been divided between a Turkish occupation and a Cypriot side since 1974. The United Nations and the international community reject Turkey’s occupation of the island and its claims to the area’s resources.