Conflict Persists Over Gas Field Drilling in Cyprus

The Italian drilling platform Saipem 12000 is still being held today in the area where it was intercepted three days ago by Turkish naval units, when it was heading to Cyprus to perform work in a gas field.


The spokesman of the Cypriot government, Nicos Christodoulides, said yesterday that the ship of the National Hydrocarbons Entity (Eni) of Italy, is about 30 miles from its destination, the so-called Block 3 in waters of the Exclusive Economic Zone, pending of instructions and denounced his detention as a violation of international law.

The measure applied by the Turkish authorities alleging the execution of military exercises in the area until the next day 22, not only affects the ship of 228 meters in length, 42 of beam and slightly more than 59 thousand deadweight tons, but also to other ships diverted from the planned trajectory, according to Christodoulides.

The official recalled similar situations in the past, although he indicated that this time it is more intense and announced the arrival today in Nicosia of a representative of Eni’s headquarters on a scheduled visit as part of regular consultations.

The president of the company, Claudio Descalzi, declared from Cairo that he trusted in a solution of the problem because ‘we are well inside the Economic Zone of Cyprus’ where’ we have drilled other wells under the same conditions … and nothing absolutely happened ‘, said quoted by the agency ANSA.

Italy and Cyprus are pursuing diplomatic efforts to unblock the situation, while the European Union calls on Turkey to avoid threats or actions against any of its members and to commit to maintaining good-neighborly relations, peacefully resolving disputes and respecting the sovereignty of other nations.

This was expressed by the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, in a message spread through the social network Twitter, while the vice-delegate of the European Commission, Mina Andreeva, pronounced in the same sense.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry, for its part, accused the Cypriot government of ‘continuing its unilateral activities related to hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean’, without taking into account ‘the inalienable rights over those natural resources, of the Turkish Cypriot people which is co-owner of the island’.

He emphatically expressed his desire that ‘companies based in third countries’ refrain from supporting what he described as a non-constructive Greco-Cypriot attitude, which is also ‘a major obstacle in the solution of the Cyprus problem’.

Conflict persists over gas field drilling in Cyprus

With that statement, issued through a statement on Sunday 11, Ankara put the issue in context, by associating it with the unresolved conflict over Cyprus, whose northern portion was occupied by Turkey in 1974, following the coup supported by the junta Greek military then against President Makarios.