Egypt, Cyprus, Greece condemns gas exploration by Turkey

Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez waves to the drilling ship 'Yavuz' scheduled to search for oil and gas off Cyprus at the port of Dilovasi, outside Istanbul. (AFP/File)
Updated 08 October 2019

Egypt, Cyprus, Greece condemns gas exploration by Turkey

  • El-Sisi hosted a meeting with his Cypriot counterpart and Greece's PM in Cairo
  • The EuroAfrica Interconnector will stretch nearly 1,000 miles from Greece to Egypt through Cyprus

CAIRO: Egypt, Cyprus, and Greece on Tuesday condemned an “unlawful and unacceptable” bid by Turkey to drill inside waters where Cyprus has exclusive economic rights.
President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi hosted a meeting Tuesday with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Cairo.
It’s the most recent summit between the three countries’ leaders aimed at forging an energy-based alliance in the east Mediterranean.
“Turkey’s unacceptable practices and drilling ... are a blatant assault on the rights of the Cypriot Republic and the international law,” Anastasiades told a joint news conference.
He said that Cyprus would resort to “all available diplomatic means to halt Turkey’s aggression.”
El-Sisi said unilateral practices by Turkey risk destabilizing the whole eastern Mediterranean and “damage the interests” of its countries.
Turkey dispatched vessels to drill for hydrocarbons inside Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone, claiming it is protecting its own interests and those of Turkish Cypriots.
It is also at odds with Egypt over boundaries in the east Mediterranean.
Cyprus was divided in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Only Turkey recognizes a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence in the island’s northern third.
The Greek Cypriot-led government has said its offshore drilling operations are an exercise of a sovereign right and that any future gas proceeds would be shared equitably if a deal to reunify the island is reached with the breakaway Turkish Cypriots.
The three leaders also condemned Turkey’s planned military offensive into northeastern Syria, after President Donald Trump said earlier this week the US would step aside for an expected Turkish attack on Syrian Kurdish fighters, who have fought alongside Americans for years.
They vowed to step up efforts to tackle illegal migration across the eastern Mediterranean and hone their anti-terrorism tactics.
The Greek leader said that Egypt is a strategic partner for the European Union and that Cyprus and Greece would work to strengthen EU-Egypt relations.
In a previous meeting, the three countries agreed to broaden “strategic cooperation” on energy, including how to transport newly found gas in the region to Europe and linking the electricity grids of Europe and North Africa via an undersea cable.
The 2,000 megawatt cable, known as the EuroAfrica Interconnector, will stretch nearly 1,000 miles from Greece to Egypt through Cyprus.


Protesters regain control of third bridge in Baghdad

Updated 17 November 2019

Protesters regain control of third bridge in Baghdad

  • Security forces used tear gas and stun bombs to prevent protesters from getting right across Ahrar Bridge in central Baghdad
  • More than 300 people have been killed since the start of mass unrest in Baghdad

BAGHDAD: Iraqi protesters regained control of a third bridge leading to Baghdad’s Green Zone on Sunday, taking further ground in the biggest wave of anti-government demonstrations in decades.
Security forces used tear gas and stun bombs to prevent protesters from getting right across Ahrar Bridge in central Baghdad, part of a weeks-long attempt to disrupt traffic and reach the Green Zone housing government ministry and embassies.
Protesters made a barricade of old cabinets, trash cans and metal sheeting on the bridge while security forces took positions behind blast walls installed to prevent protesters from crossing to the other side. Protesters who choked on the tear gas were evacuated by tuk-tuk, a Reuters cameraman said.
On Saturday, Iraqi demonstrators reoccupied part of adjacent Sinak Bridge and a nearby tall building in Baghdad that security forces had pushed them away from a week before. They have held a third bridge, Jamhuriya, since October 25.
More than 300 people have been killed since the start of mass unrest in Baghdad and southern Iraq in early October, the largest demonstrations since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Protesters are demanding the overthrow of a political class seen as corrupt and beholden to foreign interests.
In Basra in the south, dozens of protesters burned tires and briefly blocked some roads on Sunday, before police managed to restore control and reopen them, police said.
The unrest has shattered the relative calm that followed the defeat of Islamic State in 2017.