Cyprus accuses Turkey of violating global law by blocking drillship

A European Union and Turkish flag fly outside a hotel in Istanbul

A European Union and Turkish flag fly outside a hotel in Istanbul Turkey

Turkish warships on maneuvers in the Mediterranean Sea have blocked a rig belonging to the Italian energy firm ENI from reaching an area off Cyprus to start searching for gas, officials said Saturday. The Greek foreign ministry has said that Turkey is violating worldwide rights and the sovereign rights of Cyprus by disrupting the drilling works in the Cyprus special economic zone (SEZ).

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said Cyprus is dealing with the violation by taking "necessary steps", without going into details.

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The Turkish Navy blockaded the marine Saipem 12000 drilling station, which is drilling in the Cyprus SEZ for the Italian ENI oil company.

Greek Cypriots run Cyprus's internationally recognised government, while Turkish Cypriots run a breakaway state recognised only by Ankara in north Cyprus and say resources around the island belong to them too.

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The European Union's executive on Monday called on Turkey to "refrain from any actions that might damage good neighbourly relations" after Cyprus, a member of the bloc, accused the Turkish military of obstructing a ship exploring for gas.

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