Greece accused Turkey of undermining security in the eastern Mediterranean by drilling for oil and gas around Cyprus.
These were some of the strongest comments on the issue from Athens’ newly elected government. They were made by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias to reporters after meeting his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry.
Cyprus has discovered natural gas in areas off the south of the island but attempts to explore for more are challenged by Turkey, which claims part of the seas around the island as its own.
The discovery of oil and gas reserves in the east Mediterranean has put sharper focus on the Cypriot impasse, which has defied mediation efforts of a small army of diplomats.
Turkey has sent two drill ships either side of the island to explore for gas. One of the ships is in waters Cyprus and the EU consider part of the island’s exclusive economic zone, or EEZ, and the other in Cypriot territorial waters.
Egyptian minister Shoukry, who did not mention Turkey by name, said through an interpreter: “We discussed the provocations in the area and how there should be respect to international law, for the provocations to stop.”
Egypt, Greece and Cyprus cooperate in a range of areas, including energy.