Turkey rebuffs EU claims of oil drilling off Cyprus as illegitimate; US urges Ankara to halt operation

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Ankara, July 10: Turkish foreign ministry on Wednesday said it has dismissed statements by European Union (EU) and Greek officials that Ankara processing oil-and-gas drilling off the coast of the island of Cyprus.

According to Al-Jazeera news reports, the ministry also said the EU couldn’t be impartial mediator over the Cyprus issue, and that Ankara’s Fatih vessel had already begun its drilling activities at the start of May off the Mediterranean island.

It’s Yavuz ship that has recently arrived at Cyprus’s east side and would begin conducting drilling activities soon.

The US department of state has on Tuesday the Turkish authorities to immediately halt its drilling activities, after a when Cyprus protested Yavuz dropping the anchor there.

In an official statement, the US state department said, “This provocative step raises tensions in the region,” adding, “We continue to believe the island’s oil-and-gas reserves, like all of its resources, should be equitably shared between both communities in the context of an overall settlement.”

The statement further said, “We urge Turkish authorities to halt these operations and encourage all parties to act with restraint and refrain from actions that increase tensions in the region.”

Cyprus has been divided between Greek Cypriot south and Turkish Cypriot north since 1974 when Ankara deployed its armed forces’ personnel to the island in a retaliatory move to a Greek military coup.

On Monday, the EU said the latest Turkish move was totally “unacceptable escalation”, further warning Ankara to cease its “illegal” activities otherwise face sanctions and consequences.



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