Turkey to keep drilling off Cyprus, despite EU measures

The statement follows EU actions against Turkish illegal drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean

Turkey has said punitive EU measures against it will not deter it from continuing to search for oil and gas off the coast of Cyprus. The statement came after on Monday, the foreign ministers of the EU agreed to call off high-level political meetings, suspend negotiations on an aviation deal and reduce EU accession funding earmarked for Turkey.

The ministers of the 28-member bloc, of which Cyprus is a member, also invited the European Investment Bank to review its lending activities in Turkey, notably with regard to sovereign-backed lending.

"Despite the European Union's repeated calls to cease its illegal activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey continued its drilling operations west of Cyprus and launched a second drilling operation northeast of Cyprus within Cypriot territorial waters," the Council states, continuing that it  aims to reiterate the "serious immediate negative impact that such illegal actions have across the range of EU-Turkey relations." 

In response to the restrictions, the Turkish foreign ministry said today the EU's moves "will not affect in the slightest our country's determination to continue hydrocarbon activities in the Eastern Mediterranean". The ministry also said that the bloc's failure to mention Turkish Cypriots in its decisions "showed how biased and partisan the EU is on the subject of Cyprus".

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