Turkish plans for offshore drilling in Cyprus-claimed area causes US, EU concerns

The US and EU have expressed deep concern at Turkey’s announced plans for offshore drilling operations in an area claimed by Cyprus as part of its exclusive economic zone.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said last week that Turkey was starting drilling in the region. The EU and US issued statements at the weekend in response.

State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said on Sunday that “the United States is deeply concerned by Turkey’s announced intentions to begin offshore drilling operations in an area claimed by the Republic of Cyprus as its Exclusive Economic Zone. This step is highly provocative and risks raising tensions in the region. We urge Turkish authorities to halt these operations and encourage all parties to act with restraint.”

Turkey and the Greek Cypriot government have overlapping claims of jurisdiction for offshore oil and gas research in the eastern Mediterranean.