The first Turkish ship, Fatih, started drilling off the coast of Cyprus last month. (File/AFP)
The first Turkish ship, Fatih, started drilling off the coast of Cyprus last month. (File/AFP)

Turkey criticizes EU for backing Cyprus in drilling dispute

Wed, Jul. 10, 2019
CAIRO – 10 July 2019: Turkey is rejecting European Union condemnation of its efforts to drill for gas in waters off the coast of Cyprus and says the bloc cannot be considered an impartial mediator for the divided island.

Turkey’s energy minister said Sunday that a second Turkish drillship will begin drilling for oil and natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean within a week, in a move which that could strain ties with Cyprus over jurisdiction rights for exploration.

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

In May, Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry warned Turkey against any attempt to destabilize the security and stability of the Middle East.

The Egyptian minister said the ministry has been following up with great concern the recent developments regarding Turkish plans to start exploratory drilling for oil and gas off Cyprus.

"We express grave concern over Turkey's announced intention to carry out drilling activities within the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus," EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini has said in a statement.

"In this context, we urgently call on Turkey to show restraint," she added, warning that the EU would "respond appropriately to any illegal action that violated Cyprus's rights".

Turkey already has a ship off Cyprus and Cyprus issued arrest warrants for its crew in June. 
 
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