A Turkish navy vessel ‘expelled’ an Israeli research vessel working off Cyprus two weeks ago, according to a report by the Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
The newspaper said the incident that occurred two weeks only had been confirmed by Israel’s National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Ministry recently, although the exact location of where the incident occurred was not provided.
Some Israeli news outlets noted the incident took place in Cyprus’ territorial waters, which is different in distance to an exclusive economic zone (EEZ), while other reports said it happened “close to Cyprus”. Cypriot public broadcaster Cybc said on Sunday it happened in Cyprus’ EEZ. Turkish reports called the area “Turkish Cypriot waters.”
The Jerusalem Post said that R/V Bat-Galim, a vessel belonging to the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, had researchers from Ben-Gurion University in the Negev aboard, as well as a Cypriot geologist, who were doing research approved by the Cyprus government.
“Turkey does not have jurisdiction over the area of the Mediterranean Sea in which the researchers were working, but its navy demanded that Bat Galim move further south, as first reported on Channel 13,” the Jerusalem Post said.
According to the Times of Israel, unnamed senior Israeli officials said the Turkish vessels radioed the Israeli ship, demanded to know its business in the area — despite not having jurisdiction there — and then ordered it leave. “The Israeli ship had no choice but to comply and depart,” the Jerusalem Post continued.