Cyprus protests Turkish military exercise

NICOSIA, Cyprus

The Cypriot government has asked the UN and EU to halt a military exercise in the northeastern, Turkish part of the island, government spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said Tuesday (June 16th).

He said the exercise violates the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus, its air space and territorial waters. Stephanou suggested the drill may be a move to counter the Cypriot government’s efforts to explore and exploit hydrocarbon reserves in its exclusive economic zone in the Mediterranean Sea.

“If our efforts succeed, both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will benefit from them,” said Stephanou. In May, Turkey protested against plans announced by the Cypriot government to hire a US company to start oil exploration in its exclusive economic zone. Ankara said the oil exploration violates the Turkish Cypriots’ rights over the island’s natural resources.

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