Cyprus accuses Turkey of "using force" against a gas exploration vessel
18:44 - 23/02/2018
Information / follow-up ...
Cyprus accused Turkey on Friday of threatening to use force against a ship rigged by Italy's Eni in a standoff over the right to energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean.
There has been no comment from Turkey, which has vowed to prevent Greek Cypriots from drilling for oil and gas around the ethnically divided island and says some areas off the coast of Cyprus are within its jurisdiction.
On February 9, the Turkish navy stopped the Saipem 12000 on its way to explore for gas off Cyprus, causing a diplomatic dispute that highlighted tensions in the region over conflicting positions on marine energy rights.
Vikturas Papadopoulos, deputy government spokesman, told Cyprus News Agency on Friday that the ship was heading towards the same area when five Turkish ships intercepted it.
He added: "Five Turkish warships stopped the drilling vessel and after threats by the (Turkish side) using violence and the threat of collision with the drilling vessel, the ship was forced to return."