Turkish drill ship violates our rights: Cyprus

The Turkish army frigate Gelibolu, right, and the drilling vessel Fatih, left, which was deployed to search for gas and oil in waters considered part of the EU state’s exclusive economic zone maneuver in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Cyprus in this September 25, 2019 photo. (AFP)
Updated 04 October 2019

Turkish drill ship violates our rights: Cyprus

  • Turkey has sent an oil and gas drilling ship to waters off southern Cyprus where Greek Cypriot authorities have already awarded exploration rights
  • The Cypriot presidency accused Turkey of ‘bullying tactics of an era long gone’

ATHENS: Cyprus on Friday said Turkey’s action in sending a drill ship to an area Nicosia has licensed for offshore hydrocarbons exploration was a ‘severe escalation’ of what it called Ankara’s violations of the island’s sovereign rights.
Turkey has sent an oil and gas drilling ship to waters off southern Cyprus where Greek Cypriot authorities have already awarded exploration rights to Italian and French companies.
In a strongly-worded statement, the Cypriot presidency accused Turkey of ‘bullying tactics of an era long gone’ and called on Turkey to withdraw its assets from the area.
“This new provocation is exemplary of Turkey’s defiance of the European Union’s, and the international community’s, repeated calls to cease its illegal activities,” it said.
The statement also urged Turkey to respect the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources within its maritime zones.
“It is yet another proof of the utterly provocative and aggressive behavior of Ankara, which has chosen to speedily and irreversibly depart from international legality, thus putting security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean at risk.”
On Friday morning the drill ship, the Yavuz, had stopped about 51 nautical miles southwest of Cyprus.
Turkey has already drilled two wells in waters to the island’s east and west, triggering strong protests from Nicosia and the European Union.
Turkey says some of the areas where Cyprus is exploring are either on its own continental shelf, or in zones where Turkish Cypriots have equal rights over any finds with Greek Cypriots.
The island was split in a Turkish invasion in 1974 triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup.
The internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government represents Cyprus in the European Union, while a breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in the north is recognized only by Ankara.


Gulf countries announce measures to cut links with Iran as coronavirus cases rise in Middle East

Updated 21 min 49 sec ago

Gulf countries announce measures to cut links with Iran as coronavirus cases rise in Middle East

  • The UAE suspended all passenger and cargo flights to Iran
  • Kuwait has canceled celebrations for national holidays on Tuesday and Wednesday

DUBAI: Gulf countries announced new measures on Tuesday to cut links with Iran to prevent coronavirus spreading after the confirmation of 20 new cases, all of them people returning from the Islamic republic.

The UAE suspended all passenger and cargo flights to Iran after Kuwait and Bahrain announced the additional cases of COVID-19.

Over the past two days, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman have reported 29 cases of the novel coronavirus among people returning from pilgrimages to Iran, which is battling the deadliest outbreak outside China and where the death toll has reached 16.

Bahrain also announced 15 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number affected in the kingdom to 23 — including six Saudi women — after some of the people had returned from Iran via Dubai and Sharjah in the UAE.

The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority “suspended all passenger flights and cargo to and from Iran starting today and for one week,” a statement carried by the official WAM news agency said, adding that the ban could be extended.

Also on Tuesday, the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed tweeted that the UAE was ready to provide all forms of support to help China combat the spread of the virus.

Shortly after, the Bahraini authorities said citizens were banned from traveling to Iran “until further notice.”

In neighboring Kuwait, three new cases were recorded among Kuwaiti men who had been under quarantine after returning from Iran.

Oman, which on Monday reported its first cases of coronavirus in two Omani women who had returned from Iran, reported an additional two cases.

Muscat was making arrangements to bring back its citizens from the Islamic republic, the foreign ministry said, a day after it suspended all flights to and from Iran.

Oman also announced that it will suspend the import and export of goods from Iran from Wednesday.

The three countries have large Shiite Muslim populations who frequently travel to Iran to visit holy shrines.

The UAE has already announced 13 coronavirus cases, all foreigners, including an Iranian couple who had traveled from Iran.

Kuwait has canceled celebrations for national holidays on Tuesday and Wednesday and also scrapped all sports events to counter the spread of the disease.