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Turkey dismisses Greek and European Union claims that drilling off Cyprus illegitimate

Turkey dismisses Greek and European Union claims that drilling off Cyprus illegitimate”

Turkey said on Wednesday it rejected Greek and European Union assertions that Turkish drilling for gas and oil off Cyprus was illegitimate, saying they showed the EU could not be an impartial mediator on the Cyprus problem.

Nicosia has said that its exclusive economic area is being violated, while Ankara said that it is operating in its own continental platform and that it is defending the rights of the Turkish-Cypriot community in the northern part of the island.

"We express grave concern over Turkey's announced intention to carry out drilling activities within the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus", EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini has said in a statement.

The Cyprus Mail reports the 230-meter (750-foot) Yavuz drillship dropped anchor on Monday to the south of Cyprus' Karpasia peninsula, a jutting northeastern panhandle.

Cyprus is divided between the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus and a breakaway state set up after the 1974 Turkish occupation, following a coup sponsored by the military government then ruling Greece.

Reportedly the European External Action Service would also advise member states to refrain from high-level contacts with Turkey. "And the hellion of Europe is the Greek Cypriot Administration, which became a member of the European Union against global law and thus destabilized the Eastern Mediterranean together with Greece for years", it added.

Several peacemaking efforts have failed and the discovery of offshore resources in the eastern Mediterranean in the 2000s has complicated the negotiations. Turkish Cypriots claim most of seven blocks in the east.

In January, Mediterranean countries have established a natural gas board that embraced Egypt, Israel, Cyprus and other neighbors, but preferred to exclude Turkey.

Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said any measures were not an end in themselves, but aimed at sending specific messages to Turkey.



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