Rising tensions in the Mediterranean, as Turkey pushes forward with its illegal oil and gas drilling, despite EU sanctions.
Turkish President Erdogan stated that Turkey is prepared to re – invade Cyprus if needed.
Turkey’s military is prepared to reinvade Cyprus “if needed for the lives and security of Turkish Cypriots,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday.
“The entire world is watching our determination. No one should doubt that the heroic Turkish army, which sees [Northern] Cyprus as its homeland, will not hesitate to take the same step it took 45 years ago if needed for the lives and security of the Turkish Cypriots,” state-run Anadolu News Agency quoted Erdogan as saying.
Erdogan issued the statement as the nation marks the 45th anniversary of Turkey’s deeply controversial invasion of northern Cyprus in 1974, long condemned by the bulk of UN member countries.
But the provocative remarks come amidst what EU-member Cyprus has dubbed a “second invasion” involving illegal Turkish oil and gas drilling, accompanied by Turkish warships, F-16s, and drones to ensure “protection” of its drilling vessels.
The EU agreed on Monday to bring financial and political sanctions against Turkey after repeat warnings of the past weeks over Ankara deploying multiple offshore drilling vessels into international recognized Cypriot waters.
The European Union announced last Monday from Brussels:
“Today, we will adopt a number of measures against Turkey — less money, fewer loans through the European Investment Bank, freeze of aviation agreement talks. Natural-ly, other sanctions are possible.”
The most serious measure will involve a cut of 145.8 million euros ($164 million) in European funds allocated to Turkey for 2020, according to a prior AFP report.
Erdogan appeared to directly ad-dress the crisis in his Saturday statement:
“Those who think the wealth of the island and the region only belongs to them will face the determination of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots.”
…Indicating an unwillingness to back down on Turkey’s oil and gas exploration claims inside Greek Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone.
“Those who dream of changing the fact that Turkish Cypriots are an integral part of the Turkish nation will soon realize that it is in vain,” Erdogan added.
Turkey has laid claim to a waters extending a whopping 200 miles from its coast, brazenly asserting ownership over a swathe of the Mediterranean that even cuts into Greece’s exclusive economic zone. So far Ankara has responded to EU sanctions by reaffirming its rights to waters of all parts of Cyprus’ coast.
Should the Turkish military attempt to enforce its drilling claims and run up against Cypriot and Greek vessels, it could spark a deadly encounter which would force the EU and NATO to finally weigh in more forcefully.
And just on the heels of the Russian S-400 standoff with Washington, the next major Turkish showdown with the West looks to be fast heating up in the eastern Mediterranean.
Source the DURAN
PM Mitsotakis From Cyprus: ”You Have Greece’s and the EU’s Support”
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis arrived in Cyprus on Monday morning, where he held a formal meeting with the President of the Republic of the island, Nicos Anastasiades.
Following a tradition that has lasted for decades, which dictates that the first official visit abroad for a newly-elected Greek prime minister is made to Cyprus, Mitsotakis arrived at Larnaca’s international airport on Monday morning. He was driven to the Cypriot capital of Nicosia, where he was warmly welcomed by President Anastasiades.
The two leaders held their first official meeting in Nicosia‘s Presidential Palace and then made a joint statement in front of reporters.
”Cyprus will have Greece’s and the EU’s support in any rise of tension in the region on energy issues,” Mitsotakis declared, referring to illegal Turkish drilling in the island Republic’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
He then expressed his administration’s support for the trilateral collaborations that are ongoing in the area, which he noted had been initiated during the government of Antonios Samaras and have been continued by each government since that time.
During his speech, the Greek PM stated that the end of the Turkish occupation is the top priority for the island, and he stressed that any future resolution of the Cyprus issue should abolish the outdated institution of “guarantees.”
Mitsotakis also expressed Greece’s optimism about a future meeting of Anastasiades with the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, Mustafa Akinci. Turkish transgression clearly violates the Republic of Cyprus’ sovereign rights and also relates to the EU’s energy policy, which seeks to diversify energy in the East Mediterranean basin,” Mitsotakis said. ”Greece affirms its support to Cyprus,” he reiterated, noting that Greece will respond within the framework of the EU and its national decisions.
For his part, President Anastasiades said that both leaders agreed that the restart of negotiations on the Cyprus issue “demands Turkey’s active contribution in creating the right climate, and in putting an end to illegal activities within Cyprus’ EEZ and in the plans for the sealed-off area of Famagusta.”
The schedule of the Greek delegation visiting Cyprus includes meetings between the two administrations and other members of the economic and political spheres of the island.
Prime Minister Mitsotakis is being accompanied on his visit to Cyprus by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias along with Environment and Energy Minister Kostis Chatzidakis.