On 10th February, the Turkish navy stopped the Saipem 12000, the ENI (Ente nazionale idrocarburi) Italian platform, which was heading towards Cyprus to begin drilling operations under license from the Nicosia government. This news was announced by the Cypriot foreign minister and confirmed by the Italian oil group. The Turkish President Recyp Erdogan, in the aftermath of his visit to Italy, said he was against the operations of the group « in the Mediterranean Oriental ».
“ENI can confirm that on Friday afternoon the Saipem 12000 vessel had to stop the transfer journey to a new location as it was stopped by Turkish military ships with the notice not to continue because there would be military activities in the destination area” a spokesman from ENI told CNA on Saturday night. Reports said there were from three to six Turkish warships in close proximity to the platform. Saipem 12000 has planned drilling operations on behalf of ENI in Block 3 in the waters of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Republic of Cyprus, he added. ENI has been present in Cyprus since 2013 and detains interests in six licenses located in Cyprus’ EEZ (in Blocks 2, 3, 6, 8, 9 and 11), five of which are operated.
The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that it is following this event at the highest level, in conjunction with its diplomatic representatives in Nicosia and Ankara.
Today, the European Council head Donald Tusk told Turkey on Monday “to avoid threats or actions against any EU member and instead commit to good neighbourly relations, peaceful dispute settlement and respect for territorial sovereignty”.
Maria Elena Argano
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