Cyprus has insisted Turkey had breached "international law" on 11 February after Ankara's warships blocked an Italian drilling ship on course to explore for gas in the island's politically sensitive waters.
The Saipem 12000 was told not to enter the zone where it was supposed to drill, "because there would be military activities in the destination area", an ENI spokesman said, adding that the rig "prudently executed the orders". The incident added further fuel to already escalating tensions between the two neighboring North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.
In 1996, the dispute over the territorial affiliation of the two rocky islets of Imia in the Dodecanese archipelago in the Aegean Sea led to a crisis in relations between Greece and Turkey.
The Republic of Cyprus' president, Nicos Aanstasiades, accused Turkey of violating global law by interfering with the Saipem 12000's navigation.
In a news conference in Nicosia, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said that Cyprus is taking the necessary steps regarding the matter, adding that the Cypriot authorities' actions reflect the exhortation to avoid anything that could lead to an escalation of the situation without, of course, ignoring Turkey's violation of worldwide law.
Turkey and Greece, NATO allies, have been at odds over a host of issues from ethnically split Cyprus to sovereignty over airspace and overflights.
Tension between Cyprus and Turkey risks escalating over the case of Italian energy giant ENI's drillship in the eastern Mediterranean, which was halted Saturday by a Turkish Navy ship. On Monday, the European Union called on Ankara to avoid threats and "refrain from any actions that might damage good neighborly" ties with Cyprus.
"We advise the foreign companies who are conducting activities off Cyprus, relying on the Greek side, not to be an instrument to businesses that exceed their limit and power". "They are standing up to us until they see our army, ships and planes", he said. He drew a comparison between the situation off Cyprus and the situation in northern Syria, where Turkish forces have crossed the border to fight Kurdish militias.