Cyprus' foreign minister on Friday evening called the actions of six Turkish warships to try and block a Bahamas-flagged deepwater drillship from reaching block 3 in the island republic's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) an "act of piracy".
Cypriot Minister Ioannis Kasoulides added that Nicosia is in close contact with the Italian government and Italian multinational ENI, which operates the dredger, while it has also briefed the European Union and the US embassy in Cyprus over the latest Turkish provocation.
ENI's "Saipem 12000" remained some 15 nautical miles from the "Soupies" site within block 3. Its mission is to conduct exploratory drilling for natural gas.
Turkey and the Turkish-Cypriot pseudo-state that Ankara set up on the one-third portion of the island republic that it occupies claimed that the specific maritime region belongs to the former.
The incident comes amid a crescendo of rising Turkish aggressiveness across the entire region.
Turkish general staff chief Hulusi Akar last week toured units in western Turkey, where he reportedly stated that "we have the ability to hold military operations in Afrin (northwest Syria) and at the same time control the Aegean."
According to media reports out of Turkey, he told subordinates that "we are determined to guarantee the rights and interests of our country, which emanate from international law and international treaties, in our seas."
Turkey, a long-time EU candidate state and NATO member, is alone among EU states in refusing to sign or ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).