EU decries Turkish drilling operations off Cyprus coast 

On Friday, the European Union condemned Turkey's moves off the coast of Cyprus as part of the exploration of gas fields, calling on Ankara to respect the sovereignty of Cyprus.

The 27 member states of the European Union have repeatedly called on Turkey to stop drilling for oil and gas exploration off the coast of Cyprus, as it interferes with the economic zone of Cyprus, a member of the European bloc.

Earlier this year, the European Union froze the assets of Turkish citizens involved in the operations, preventing them from entering its territory, but Ankara has not retreated.

"We regret that Turkey has not responded to the many calls of the European Union to stop such activities," the foreign ministers of the 27 European Union member states said in a joint statement.

"We reiterate our call for Turkey to demonstrate restraint, give up this kind of movement, and respect Cyprus' sovereignty and sovereign rights," the foreign ministers added in the statement.

The ministers welcomed Cyprus' efforts to negotiate this dispute, stressing that "the recent escalation of Turkish moves, unfortunately, is going in the wrong direction."

The Turkish ship "Yavuz" has been drilling off the coast of Cyprus since the end of April. On Thursday, Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez stressed that the drilling would not stop.

He said, "Turkey continues its excavation and seismic activities (...) in the eastern Mediterranean without stopping."

In January, the European Union issued a warning to Turkey about its exploration operations, with Ankara announcing the arrival of its exploration ship near the island.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rejected the European Union's "warnings", warning that Turkey hosts about four million refugees, most of whom are Syrians, and could open doors for them towards Europe.

This comes a day after a Turkish media announced that the Turkish Petroleum Company (TBAO) submitted an application to Libya to obtain a permit to explore in the eastern Mediterranean.

Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmaz stressed, in press statements, the beginning of an exploration process for the joint maritime border region with Libya, explaining that with the end of that process, the process of exploration for natural resources in the region will begin.

The move could fuel tensions in the region, where a dispute has been raging for years between Turkey and Greece and Cyprus, as well as other regional powers over ownership of natural resources, Reuters commented.

The Libyan Accord Government headed by Fayez al-Sarraj signed a maritime agreement, illegally, with Turkey in November 2019 to establish an exclusive economic zone from the southern Turkish coast on the Mediterranean to the coasts of northeastern Libya, ignoring the presence of Greek lands and islands in the Mediterranean, as well as a cooperation agreement Security.

The signing of the agreement sparked strong opposition and criticism from several countries, especially Greece, Cyprus and Egypt, whose relations with Turkey are witnessing great tension on the background of several issues, and the three countries issued a joint statement in which they promised that signing this Memorandum of Understanding is a measure that has no " Legal effect."



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