Greek Cypriots purchase 4 drones from Israel

Published 09.10.2019 01:27

The Greek Cypriot administration has purchased four drones from Israel to monitor land and sea, according to local media.

Greek Cypriot news outlet Kathimerini Cyprus reported Thursday that the drones were purchased for 12 million euros ($13.19 million), which was undisclosed by wires yesterday.

The drones, bought from the Israeli firm Aeronautics, will reportedly allow Greek Cypriot agencies to obtain clear views from high altitudes over land and water.

The use of the drones would reportedly include monitoring the disputed Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Sammy Ravel, Israel's ambassador to the Greek Cypriot administration, said in a tweet Monday voiced his country's support for the Greek Cypriots, following Turkey's dispatch of a second drillship into the Eastern Mediterranean. "Friends should stick with each other," Ravel said.

Greek Cypriots also bought 24 new artillery systems from Serbia in the summer, which appeared before the public for the first time in a military parade last week.

In June, U.S. Senate drafted legislation sponsored by Democrat Bob Menendez. The Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act intends to "update the U.S. strategy in the Eastern Mediterranean to meet new challenges and opportunities." In July the House of Representatives has adopted an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would end the 32-year arms embargo on Southern Cyprus.

Greek Cyprus unilaterally declared 13 so-called parcels in the Eastern Mediterranean as its EEZ and allowed international oil and drilling companies to operate in these areas, which are likely to hold major hydrocarbon reserves.

However, the majority of these parcels clash with the EEZ declared by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), with the Greek Cypriot administration ignoring the TRNC's fundamental rights to a share of the island's resources.

Turkey has regularly contested the Greek Cypriot administration's unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the TRNC also has rights to the resources in the area. The unilaterally declared EEZ of the Greek Cypriot administration also violates part of Turkey's shelf, particularly in Blocks 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7.

Turkey's hydrocarbon exploration in East Med

Ankara has been taking steps to demonstrate its resoluteness to protect its sovereign rights and interests in the Eastern Mediterranean by accelerating efforts for hydrocarbon exploration activities with two drilling vessels.

Since spring this year, Ankara has sent two drilling vessels – the Fatih and most recently the Yavuz – to the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting the right of Turkey and the TRNC to the resources of the region.

The drilling area falls entirely within the Turkish continental shelf registered with the U.N. and in permit licenses that the Turkish government in previous years granted to Turkish Petroleum, the country's national oil company.

The second Turkish drilling vessel arrived in the Güzelyurt-1 location Saturday to resume exploration operations off the coast of Cyprus while Fatih also continues its activities.

Turkey's first seismic vessel, the Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa, bought from Norway in 2013, has been conducting exploration in the Mediterranean since April 2017. A second seismic exploration vessel, the MTA Oruç Reis, joined Turkey's exploration activities in the region at the end of August.

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