Republic of Cyprus Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis issued an indicting statement against Turkey this week, when he accused that country of illegal activities in Cypriot waters during a fisheries control teleconference.
Kadis, who previously served as education minister in the current administration, attended a virtual conference of the EU Council of Ministers of Agriculture and Fisheries, focusing on fisheries issues including the European Commission’s proposal for more sustainable EU fisheries.
The Cypriot minster accused Turkey of “increased illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in the eastern Mediterranean, in Union Waters,” citing reports of Turkish vessels carrying out fishing activities in the northern waters off Cyprus.
Kadis urged the EU to take bolder steps in fisheries control in the eastern Mediterranean, while blaming lack of progress on Turkish lobbying efforts
Kadis said such actions were being carried out without authorization from the Republic of Cyprus or the European Union.
“Turkey’s actions in the eastern Mediterranean constitute flagrant violation of international and European Union law, something which Cyprus is regrettably very familiar with,” Kadis said.
The agriculture minister also accused Turkey of what he described as “more serious incidents” with Turkish patrol vessels harassing fishing vessels that fly the Republic of Cyprus flag within the northern maritime zones of the island as well as international waters.
These actions, the minister said, were part of Turkish sovereignty violations against the Republic of Cyprus and its Exclusive Economic Zone, adding that they were also in violation of the principle of the high seas.
The Cypriot minister called on the EU to take bolder steps for fisheries control in the eastern Mediterranean, while expressing regret over last year’s lack of action which he blamed on Turkish lobbying efforts.
EU decision makers have been facing challenges in identifying and establishing unified guidance and public policy mechanisms on managing conflicts over fishery resources.
Kadis argued Turkey’s actions undermined the very effort of promoting a unified effort towards sustainability in eastern Mediterranean waters.