Turkey starts naval exercise amid Cyprus gas dispute

Turkey considers the area to be part of its continental shelf and granted exploration licenses to Turkish Petroleum in 2009 and 2012. (AFP/File)
Updated 13 May 2019
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Turkey starts naval exercise amid Cyprus gas dispute

  • The exercises, featuring 131 vessels, 57 planes and 33 helicopters, began early on Monday
  • They are due to last until May 25 and take place across the Mediterranean, Aegean and Black seas

ANKARA: Turkey’s military launched a major naval exercise on Monday at a time of rising tensions over its plans to explore for gas off the coast of Cyprus.
The exercises, featuring 131 vessels, 57 planes and 33 helicopters, began early on Monday, a Turkish defense ministry official confirmed to AFP.
They are due to last until May 25 and take place across the Mediterranean, Aegean and Black seas.
It follows Turkey’s announcement in May that it would carry out exploratory drilling off Cyprus up to September.
The European Union has said that will encroach on Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone, while the United States described the move as “highly provocative.”
The international community does not recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, proclaimed after troops occupied the top third of the island in 1974 in response to a coup sponsored by the Greek military junta.
The discovery of huge gas reserves in the Mediterranean has fueled a race to tap the underwater resources.
Turkey considers the area to be part of its continental shelf and granted exploration licenses to Turkish Petroleum in 2009 and 2012.
The internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, which rules the rest of the island, has signed its own exploration deals with energy giants Eni, Total and ExxonMobil.
Speaking on Sunday, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar insisted Turkey would take all necessary measures to “protect its rights in the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas, and in Cyprus.”


Egypt accuses UN of seeking to ‘politicize’ Morsi death

Updated 22 min 57 sec ago
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Egypt accuses UN of seeking to ‘politicize’ Morsi death

  • Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman said the UN is trying to politicize a natural death
  • The High Commissioner for Human Rights called for an independent investigation into the death of Morsi

CAIRO: Egypt accused the United Nations on Wednesday of seeking to “politicize” the death of the country’s first democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi by calling for an “independent inquiry.”

Foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez said he condemned “in the strongest terms” the call by the spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, for an independent investigation into Morsi’s death during a court hearing on Monday.

Hafez said it was a “deliberate attempt to politicize a case of natural death.”

Colville called Tuesday for a probe into whether the conditions Morsi faced during his nearly six years in custody had contributed to his death.

“Any sudden death in custody must be followed by a prompt, impartial, thorough and transparent investigation carried out by an independent body to clarify the cause of death,” he said.

“Concerns have been raised regarding the conditions of Mr. Morsi’s detention, including access to adequate medical care, as well as sufficient access to his lawyers and family,” Colville added.

He said the investigation must “encompass all aspects of the authorities’ treatment of Mr. Morsi to examine whether the conditions of his detention had an impact on his death.”

Morsi was toppled by then army chief, now President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in 2013 after a single divisive year in power. He was later charged with an array of offenses including espionage.

Since his ouster, authorities have waged an ongoing crackdown on dissent of all kinds that has seen thousands of Brotherhood supporters jailed and hundreds facing death sentences.

A group of British parliamentarians in March 2018 warned Morsi’s detention conditions, particularly inadequate treatment for his diabetes and liver disease, could trigger “premature death.”