Cyprus to complain to UN over Turkey gas blockade

The Republic of Cyprus is expected to lodge a protest with the United Nations over moves by Turkey to prevent an Italian vessel from exploring for gas in the eastern Mediterranean.

Greek media group SKAI reported that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Republic of Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades discussed the matter in a phone call on Tuesday after Turkey had renewed until March 10 a navigational telex (Navtex) that said the site of the potential gas reserves would be used for a military exercise.

The last Navtex was to expire on Thursday. Turkey has used the notice to prevent the Saipem 12000, an exploration vessel belonging to the Italian energy firm ENI, from entering “Block 3” which lies between the island of Cyprus and Egypt.

Control of the island of Cyprus is split between the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus and the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognised only by Turkey.

Turkey has sought to prevent exploration of gas in waters around the island. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu this month said a deal between Egypt and the Republic of Cyprus to create an exclusive economic zone in waters between the two countries would contravene the “inalienable rights” of Turkish Cypriots to benefit from the island’s resources.



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