Cyprus: What happens in the air and at sea – violations and harassment

The Cold War, started by Turkey in relation to gas reserves, is eventually conducted in the air rather than at sea with the utmost discretion. Israelis are in the forefront, with Cyprus assisting and Turkey testing reactions.

Turkish fighter jets and reconnaissance warplanes flew yesterday morning from Turkey east of Cyprus and then headed west to the coast of Famagusta, without approaching areas of Cyprus offshore fields. According to information from “Phileleftheros “, this violation of airspace of the Republic is not particularly different from other similar violations in the past and did not appear to target the fields.

At the same time, Israel’s special electronic warfare aircraft are flying in the area and along the line separating the EEZ of Cyprus and Israel, at a height of more than 40,000 feet, apparently for surveillance and electronic interference of various kinds.

Simultaneously, at a much lower level – at 4,000 feet- helicopters of the Israeli Air Force are flying periodically patrolling the area. Two helicopters of the National Guard are on standby and according to information these helicopters re-stationed yesterday at the Larnaca Airport and were making flights as part of the exercise.

At sea, there was no unusual activity. The only movements of the Turkish Navy were off the occupied port of Famagusta, but nothing special was noticed compared to similar movements in the past. Israel continues to maintain patrols by vessels in the context of surveillance of platforms.

However, at the diplomatic level Nicosia, yesterday greatly accelerated the process of signing an agreement with Israel for joint exploitation of common gas reserves, an agreement which was under negotiation for months. With this agreement, Israel’s interests in the “Aphrodite” block are directly affected by Turkish military threats.

Meanwhile, the Noble Homer Ferrington drilling rig, as “Phileleftheros” revealed yesterday, is already on its way to the drilling point in the “Aphrodite” block. The rig and the special support vessel Scandia Saigon are approaching the point of drilling. This should be done within the next 24 hours. The platform moves autonomously covering approximately four nautical miles per hour. The staff that will undertake the preparation of drilling will be transported from Cyprus this morning replacing personnel on the rig.

Stay five miles away

Secrecy invoked by the government is not understandable, because there is no secret for those directly involved – nor of course for Turkey.

For example, all ships and aircraft intending to cross the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as shipping and aviation authorities at the political and military level in all countries, have been updated with official information through an established procedure that the “Homer Ferrington” drilling rig will be installed on 33.11.05 degrees north and 033.16.79 east and a five nautical miles radius is required.

The coordinates of drilling and other details are publicly known as the Environmental Study for the drilling has long been published on the Internet, like all such studies.


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