Turkey said it will continue with oil drilling activities on the coast of Cyprus, despite the tension with the European Union (EU), which this week asked Ankara to interrupt the “illegal” activities.
The discovery of large gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean has spared the dispute between Cyprus, EU member, and Turkey, which last month sent a second ship, the “Yaviz”, to exploit gas and oil in the region.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey has struck in a statement the European criticism and stated that “the drilling activities of ‘ Yavuz ‘ are legal and legitimate.”
“We reject the communiqué of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the EU, which consider our country to practice illegal activities,” the communiqué said.
After sending a first ship, Turkey began in May the oil and gas perforations in the region.
The EU said in a statement released on Monday that sending a second Turkish ship represents an “unacceptable climb” and threatened Turkey with sanctions if the country does not interrupt “illegal” activities.
Cyprus has been divided into two parts since the invasion of the north of the island by the Turkish army in 1974, after a coup that sought to attach the island to Greece.
The Republic of Cyprus, an EU member country, exercises its authority in the two-thirds of the south of the island. In the northern region is the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
The Republic of Cyprus has signed drilling contracts with companies in the gas sector in recent years, but Turkey is requesting the suspension of projects until a solution is announced for the division of the island.
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