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Cyprus monitors movements of Turkish ship off its western coast

07-16-2010 11:18 BJT

NICOSIA, July 15 (Xinhua) -- Cyprus said on Thursday it is monitoring the movements of a Turkish exploration ship off its western coast.

The ship is sailing between Greece's most eastern island, Castellorizo, and the western tip of Cyprus for seismic oil exploration under the sea bed.

The announcement about the radar monitoring of the ship's movements came as Greek Cypriots observed commemorative events on Thursday to condemn the 1974 coup by Greek army officers which triggered Turkey's military intervention several days later.

"We are observing the activities of the Turkish exploration ship in full co-operation with Greece," said Cyprus Defense Minister Costas Papacostas.

The Greek embassy in Ankara delivered a diplomatic note to the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Wednesday, warning against any exploration for sea oil in Greece's continental shelf. Greek Defense Minister Evangelos Venizelos said the ship's movements are under constant watch.

Any action which might be considered an infringement on either Greek or Cypriot sovereign rights will certainly have a negative impact on Turkey's drive to join the European Union. Eight of Turkey's negotiating chapters have already been frozen, among them the energy chapter.

Turkey's action to send its seismic exploration ship off the most eastern Greek island and near Cyprus has rekindled tensions in the area. These are indicative of high sensitivities by all parties involved in a dispute dated back to the early 1960s, when Cyprus became independent from British colonial rule.

Sentiments are expected to be further inflamed when Turkey is expected to sent more navy ships and military planes to the northern part of Cyprus early next week, taking part in events commemorating the 36th anniversary of its military intervention.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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