‘Biased and partisan’ EU sanctions won’t affect our drilling off Cyprus – Turkey’s foreign ministry

European ministers on Monday agreed to reduce financial support for Ankara, suspended negotiations on an agreement on air transport and decided not to hold any high-level meetings with Turkey until it stops violating what the EU sees as the sovereign rights of Cyprus. The ministers also warned they could impose further sanctions, this time against companies and individuals involved in drilling, DPA news agency has reported.

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“Turkey’s provocation is unacceptable for all of us,” German Minister of European Affairs Michael Roth said, emphasizing that the EU is on the side of Cyprus. 

In response, Ankara argued it was protecting the rights of Turkish Cypriots over natural resources discovered off lands that it considers to be Turkey’s. It blasted the EU’s failure to mention Turkish Cypriots in its decisions, which “showed how biased and partisan the EU is on the subject of Cyprus.”

“The [EU] decisions will not affect in the slightest our country’s determination to continue hydrocarbon activities in the Eastern Mediterranean,” the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

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Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also said that Ankara plans to send a fourth ship to the disputed waters in the nearest future.

We have three ships there, God willing we will send a fourth ship to the eastern Mediterranean as soon as possible. Let them understand that they cannot deal with Turkey with such methods,” he reiterated.

In February EU member Cyprus announced the discovery of natural gas in areas off the south of the island, and Turkey was quick to lay claims on the finds, citing the right to these resources by Turkish Cypriots. The international community, however, does not recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, nor its claims to the regional waters around the island.

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