Turkish and Cypriot authorities have taken immediate action to stop oil spills at some of the island’s best beaches.
Officials in the war-torn northern part of the country have set up a 400-meter barrier on the Carpas Peninsula to prevent the slide from reaching its shores.
When the Greek government of the island of Cyprus requested an oil recovery ship from the European Maritime Security Agency, Turkey said it could collect two ships.
In the Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, environmental officials say 20,000 tons of internationally recognized oil reserves have been leaked from a Syrian plant.
“It’s a complete threat to the marine ecosystem,” Kemeli Ezevel Ekinchi, head of the Northern Environmental Engineering Unit, told the local TAK news agency.
“This problem is not just a matter of northern Cyprus,” Ekinchi said. We have to work with the South.
Syria’s electricity minister told pro-government newspaper Al Watan on Monday that the spill was between two and four tons.
He said a committee has been set up to look into the matter.
Erol Adalrier, head of the North Deep Diving Center, said the oil spill hit the northeastern part of the island’s Carpaz Peninsula: a sandy beach and green hills.
On Tuesday morning, the oil arrived at a distance of 20 miles from the coast, he added.
Local officials say Turkey has sent teams to assess the situation and prepare a response.
“Even if it passes us by, it will affect Turkey,” said North African Tourism and Environment Minister Fikri Ataolu.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974.
The government of the Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union, on Tuesday said it had no signs of oil spills in areas under its control and was ready to help northern officials deal with any pollution.
“Unfortunately, we have not received any information or response from the constitutional authorities, and we will remain vigilant,” Foreign Minister Kostas Kadis told a news agency in Cyprus.
The Turkish government in northern Cyprus relies almost exclusively on financial and other assistance from Accara.