Greek FM: Turkey saber-rattling to stop drilling off Cyprus; ‘right of intervention’ a point that doomed latest talks

12 July 2017
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Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on Tuesday evening referred to “verbal bluster” by the Turkish side in describing Ankara’s attempts this week to prevent exploratory hydrocarbon drilling in a block located within Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Kotzias’ comments came during an appearance on an Athens television station’s prime-time newscast, and days after an initially promising round of negotiations to solve the decades-old Cyprus problem again fizzled out.
“The Turks are engaging in verbal bluster; they may dare take further steps, but this will entail a great cost for them,” he said in comments broadcast by the Ant1 station.

In pointing out one of the major sticking points that doomed the recent UN-brokered negotiations in Switzerland, Kotzias said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu point-blank stated that “we (Turkey) want to retain the right of intervention for at least 15 years, and then again review the situation.”

The Greek FM said both the Cypriot and Greek sides responded that presence of Turkish occupation forces is not compatible with western civilization and that the “Turkish military cannot remain on Cyprus.”

According to reports from the island republic, the exploration vessel “West Capella” will conduct drilling on behalf of French energy giant Total. The vessel is en route to the sea region off Cyprus.

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