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Turkish and Russian fleet in Cypriot waters

20 October 2014 / 11:10:15  GRReporter
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Turkish seismic ship "Barbaros" entered the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone at 06:30 am this morning, and two other ships are sailing around it to assist in the mission, as reported by the Cypriot and Greek media.

Cypriot Minister of Defence Christoforos Fokaidis confirmed the information before the Cypriot state television.

The crew of "Barbaros" was ordered by the Turkish government to explore the region in the sea around the island for the presence of hydrocarbon deposits. The frigate of the Turkish navy is already in the region, but off to the southeast, overseeing the drilling works carried out by ENI-Kogas consortium at a distance of 5 nautical miles from section 9 of the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone. According to the Greek edition "To Vima", Ankara has "engaged" various regions of the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone from October 20 to December 30 to conduct seismic drilling there.

At the same time, Russia is starting large-scale military training in the Eastern Mediterranean, in an area of ​​800 square miles that coincides with the region "engaged" by Turkey. The training is scheduled to end on 23 October and will include the launch of missiles from warships.

Joint air-force training involving Cypriot and Israeli aircraft will begin in a neighbouring region a day after the Russian training.

The seismic surveys and the military training around Cyprus are organized just five days before the start of the negotiations to solve the Cyprus issue.

On Sunday, President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades said he does not intend to participate in a "dialogue between deaf people," adding that he will stand behind this decision even though different sides have advised him to resume the negotiations with the Turkish Cypriots.

According to Anastasiades, "the unacceptable provocation on the part of Turkey to engage a region in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus not only violates international law but also refutes those who have believed in Ankara's assurances that it will significantly contribute towards solving the Cyprus issue."

As reported by the Cypriot media, the National Council of Cyprus that, at 10:00 am today, held a meeting chaired by Anastasiades is following the issue. It is expected that the discussion will focus on how Cyprus will respond to the actions of Turkey. Publications in the Cypriot media state that Nicosia is closely following the events, discussing them with various other countries. Cyprus government spokesman Nicos Christodoulidis said that the meeting will continue on Tuesday if necessary.

It is noteworthy that Greece has sent a protest note to the Turkish Ambassador in Athens for Turkey's actions in Cyprus. In parallel, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will visit Cyprus on 7 November on his way to Cairo, where a three-day summit between Greece, Cyprus and Egypt will take place on 9 November.

Tags: PoliticsCyprusExclusive Economic ZoneTurkish shipSeismic studiesRussian military trainingGreeceIsrael
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