Israel is following Turkey’s actions in Cyprus’ territorial waters “closely as tension arises in the Eastern Mediterranean,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lior Haiat stated Wednesday, as Turkey and Greece appear to be on a collision course.
“Israel expresses its full support and solidarity with Greece in its maritime zones and its right to delimit its EEZ (exclusive economic zone),” he added.
Turkey’s ships drilling for oil and gas southwest of Cyprus, in areas claimed by the Greek Cypriot authorities, have come close to a military clash with Greek Navy patrolling the area.
Greece has recently raised its military’s alert level in anticipation of a possible conflict with Turkey.
Turkey has already drilled in Cypriot waters, triggering protests from Nicosia and the European Union, including sanctions.
Israel in recent years has fostered its ties with Cyprus and Greece, especially on the issue of energy, and has grown distant from Ankara, which has become more Islamic and increasingly anti-Israel.
Greece, Israel, and Cyprus have established an alliance to counter Turkey. Greece and Cyprus are historic adversaries of Turkey.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis arrived in Israel in June and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and one of the issues they discussed was Turkey’s belligerence regarding its aspirations to develop its gas capabilities in the Mediterranean Sea while impeding on Greece’s sovereignty.
Cyprus has been divided between a Turkish occupation and a Cypriot side since 1974. The United Nations and the international community reject Turkey’s occupation of the island and its claims to the area’s resources.