US 'deeply concerned' over Turkey's operations in eastern Mediterranean: Pompeo

US 'deeply concerned' over Turkey's operations in eastern Mediterranean: Pompeo
2 min read
13 September, 2020
Pompeo urged Turkey, Greece and Cyprus to put a diplomatic end to the crisis over offshore natural resources.
Ankara is facing off against Greece and Cyprus over oil and gas exploration rights [Getty]
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday expressed concerns about Turkey's operations in the Eastern Mediterranean after meeting with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in Nicosia.

"We remain deeply concerned about Turkey's ongoing operations searching for natural resources in areas over which Greece and Cyprus assert jurisdiction in the Eastern Mediterranean," Pompeo told reporters.

The meeting came as part of Pompeo's official visit to Cyprus, which lasted only a couple of hours, to push for a peaceful end to mounting Mediterranean tensions.

Tensions soared in August after Turkey resumed gas exploration in a disputed area contested by Cyprus.

Ankara – which accuses Athens of trying to grab an unfair share of maritime resources – also began naval exercises and energy surveys in waters where Turkey and Greece are locked in a fierce dispute to assert their competing claims.

Athens has signed its own maritime deal with Italy and claims Turkey's exploration plans "violate" its maritime jurisdiction.

The recent events have resumed heated territory disputes over the dividing waters of the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, as well as the island of Cyprus – de facto divided between Greek Cypriot and Turkish communities. 

Greece has since deployed its own navy to the area, while France has expanded its military presence in a bid to intimidate Turkey.

Pompeo warned against further escalation and called for dialogue between the opposing sides.

Read also: Aegean angst: Greece and Turkey's dangerous Eastern Mediterranean game

"Increased military tensions help no one but adversaries who would like to see division in transatlantic unity," he said.

"We remain deeply concerned by Turkey's ongoing operations ... the Republic of Cyprus has the right to exploit its natural resources including the right to hydrocarbons found ... in its exclusive economic zone," Pompeo added.

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