Turkey vows to keep drilling off Cyprus despite warnings

Nellie Chapman
July 13, 2019

According to a draft statement by the European Council, with which most EU member-states are in agreement, the measures against Turkey would include suspending talks for a Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement and a halting of high-level dialogues for the time being.

These measures are amongst a variety of proposals that EU authorities' envoys will focus on Wednesday in Brussels and will restrict the European Investment Bank's sovereign-backed lending in Turkey and make sure a lower of some 146 million euros ($163 million) in help for next year, in line with a person accustomed to the matter. The EU has said Ankara under President Tayyip Erdogan is moving further away from the bloc.

The joint European Union decision, which may still be changed, is to be discussed among national envoys in Brussels on Thursday (July 11) with the aim of adopting it when the bloc's foreign ministers meet on Monday.

In June, EU leaders warned Turkey to end drilling in waters around the island or face action from the bloc. "We're trying to calibrate that carefully because we need Turkish cooperation on migration, NATO, countering terrorism". "Don't expect any wide economic sanctions".

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"The drilling activities of our ship Yavuz are based on legal and legitimate grounds", the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement, rejecting Greek and the EU's claims that the drilling activities are illegal. On the divided island, an internationally recognised government is part of the European Union but Turkey backs a breakaway area.

The government has instructed police to investigate a reported attack against a Turkish Cypriot bus at Larnaca airport where it was picking up tourists to take to the breakaway north, the government spokesman said on Thursday.

The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has repeatedly warned worldwide oil companies commissioned by the Greek Cypriot government not to participate in the search for underwater deposits.

Nicosia pushed for tougher language.

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