Nicosia welcomes departure of Yavuz

Nicosia welcomes departure of Yavuz

Nicosia sees the departure of Turkish drillship Yavuz from Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as a positive development but will await developments to better evaluate the situation, government spokesman Kyriakos Koushos told the Cyprus News Agency on Monday.

 

Nicosia sees the departure of Turkish drillship Yavuz from Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as a positive development but will await developments to better evaluate the situation, government spokesman Kyriakos Koushos told the Cyprus News Agency on Monday.

He was commenting on reports that the Yavuz had moved out of Cyprus’ EEZ and returning to Turkey, days after an EU summit postponed a decision on possible sanctions against Ankara for its illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean to give time for diplomatic initiatives.

Koushos said that the departure of the Yavuz was a positive development which contributes to a positive climate.

But he said that it was unclear whether the ship was leaving for good and noted that Turkey’s seismic research vessel Barbaros remains within Cyprus’ EEZ, while threats to settle the fenced city of Famagusta continue.

Nicosia will await developments to evaluate the situation, he said.

Yesterday, the media reported that the Yavuz was leaving Cyprus’ EEZ and heading back to Turkey and said this development was likely linked to behind-the-scene diplomatic efforts, especially by Germany to ease tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean.

According to Phileleftheros, during long discussions at the European Council, German chancellor Angela Merkel had asked President Nicos Anastasiades not to insist on the issue of sanctions and promised him that moves would be made by Turkey.

Among those moves would be that she expected Turkey would not renew its Navtex for activities in the region, and the possible withdrawal of one or both drilling rigs from Cyprus’ EEZ.

At the EU Council meeting on Thursday, Anastasiades had been pressing for EU sanctions against Turkey for repeatedly violating Cyprus’ EEZ, at one point linking them with proposed EU sanctions against Belarus.

But under strong pressure from other EU leaders, Cyprus agreed to a compromise that the EU review Turkey’s behaviour in December and impose sanctions then if its provocations did not stop.

Anastasiades said that leaders had discussed how to create a climate that would allow a strategic relationship between the EU and Turkey based on the principles and values of the EU and international law.

He highlighted the ‘unanimous position’ that a precondition was Turkey ending its illegal actions against the sovereign rights of Cyprus and Greece. A number of proposals, including immediate sanctions or giving time for diplomatic initiatives, were discussed.

Also, Nato allies Greece and Turkey set up a mechanism to avoid accidental clashes in the Eastern Mediterranean, Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, part of efforts to defuse the dispute over energy resources in the region.

 

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