EU threatens Turkey with sanctions over Cyprus drilling: draft

The offshore area where the Turkish ships Fatih and Yavuz are exploring for gas is part of EU-member Cyprus's exclusive economic zone where it has invited Western giants like Exxon Mobil and France's Total to drill in lucrative deals for Nicosia

The offshore area where the Turkish ships Fatih and Yavuz are exploring for gas is part of EU-member Cyprus's exclusive economic zone where it has invited Western giants like Exxon Mobil and France's Total to drill in lucrative deals for Nicosia

Last month, European Union leaders warned Turkey to end its gas drilling in disputed waters or face action from the bloc, after Greece and Cyprus pressed other European Union states to speak out.

The European Union will put on hold high-level talks with Ankara and negotiations on an air transport agreement, as well as freezing funding for Turkey next year, over "illegal" drilling for gas and oil off Cyprus, according to a draft statement seen by Reuters.

"The drilling activities of our ship Yavuz are based on legal and legitimate grounds", the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

Turkish Cyprus has announced that it will offer Greek Cyprus to jointly establish a committee that will deal with a dispute ongoing between the two countries over hydrocarbon drilling in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

More news: United Kingdom police launch investigation into leaked ambassador cables
More news: Former pitcher Dwight Gooden arrested in New Jersey on cocaine possession
More news: Maui wildfire grows to 10K acres; most residents return home

The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has repeatedly warned worldwide oil companies commissioned by the Greek Cypriot government not to participate in the search for underwater deposits. Ankara says its actions abide by global law and that it is drilling inside its continental shelf.

The Turkish-flagged drill ship Fatih launched offshore drilling operations this May in an area 75 kilometers (42 nautical miles) off the western coast of the island of Cyprus. The move allows residents of the internationally recognised south and the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to use their mobile phones on both sides of the Mediterranean island.

The incident had been reported in the Turkish Cypriot media earlier this week and was also raised by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci during a meeting with United Nations special envoy Elizabeth Spehar on Wednesday.

In a statement on Monday the EU's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, pledged the bloc would continue to stand by its most easterly member, describing the dispatch of the second drilling ship as an "unacceptable escalation".

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.