Turkey drills off Cyprus in bid for regional influence
Turkey drills off Cyprus in bid for regional influence
EU threatens Turkey with sanctions over Cyprus drilling: draft
13 July, 2019, 14:57
"The Council endorses the (European) Commission's proposal to reduce the pre-accession assistance to Turkey for 2020 and invites the European Investment Bank to review its lending activities in Turkey, notably with regard to sovereign-backed lending", it said.
The Turkish-flagged drill ship Fatih launched offshore drilling operations this May in an area 75 kilometers (42 nautical miles) off the western coast of the island of Cyprus.
The foreign ministry said Turkey's Fatih ship had started drilling activities to the west of the Mediterranean island at the start of May and its Yavuz ship had recently arrived east of Cyprus and would also conduct drilling activities.
But that's been seen as trying to have it both ways, to push Erdogan toward stopping the drilling in Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) where the legitimate government has licensed foreign companies to drill, with American energy giant ExxonMobil already reporting a major gas find.
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European Union leaders have squarely sided with Cyprus within the dispute, declaring final month that they're prepared to think about sanctions if Turkey continues drilling. The EU has said Ankara under President Tayyip Erdogan is moving further away from the bloc.
The EU and Turkey signed a swap deal in 2016 but only a relative handful of refugees and migrants deemed ineligible for asylum - in Greece where they've been stuck after the bloc closed its borders to them - have been sent back to Turkey.
On Thursday, national envoys in Brussels were discussing a joint decision to punish Ankara over what the European Union sees as Turkish interference with Cyprus' exclusive economic zone. Only Turkey recognises the breakaway state of northern Cyprus.
Tatar also said that, apart from that topic, they also talked about the issue of migrants and the attacks undertaken in the Greek Cypriot side against Turkish firms' buses, with the most recent one happening last week.
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