Greece’s foreign minister Nikos Dendias has accused Turkey of putting the security of the eastern Mediterranean at risk by drilling for oil and gas off Cyprus, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
Dendiasmade the accusations during a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry, following a Tuesday meeting in Athens.
“The illegal actions of Turkey, which defy international law are placing the security of the region at risk. As such, they are absolutely condemnable,” the minister said hours after returning from an official visit to Cyprus.
The friction stems from overlapping claims to regional waters by Turkey and the Republic of Cyprus.
Having formed a cooperation bloc with Greece, Israel, and Egypt to drill for natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus has discovered natural gas in waters off the south of the island.
However, Turkey challenged its attempts to explore more by sending two drill-ships which commenced with drilling operations.
Ankara says the waters around Cyprus lie on its continental shelf and therefore, Nicosia cannot make any maritime zones-related deal on behalf of the whole island, claiming shares in the energy reserves.
“We discussed this flagrant violation of the sovereignty and the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus perpetrated by Turkey,” Dendias said.
Egypt’s Shoukry called Turkey’s moves “provocations”, not mentioning the country by name.