The European Union has again warned Turkey against test drilling in the Cypriot economic zone in the Mediterranean. The repeated warning follows the Turkish announcement that it is sending a drill ship to the area.
Turkey disputes that the sea area belongs to Cyprus because the area is said to belong to the Turkish Cypriot republic that pro-Turkish Cypriots proclaimed there several decades ago. This is not recognized by any country in the world except Turkey. The issue is one of the major disagreements between Brussels and Ankara.
"Concrete steps are needed to create a situation in good faith that fosters dialogue," said a EU spokesperson. "Turkey's intention to launch further exploration and drilling activities in the wider region is unfortunately going in the opposite direction."
The EU underlined that international maritime law and sovereign rights over the maritime zones of all Member States must be respected.
Cyprus accused Turkey of "piracy" on Sunday after Ankara announced new plans to drill oil and gas in the island's divided maritime zone, despite the previous threat of EU sanctions.
Ankara repeatedly ignored calls from the international community, particularly the European Union, to end its illegal activities in Cypriot waters. Turkey announced on Friday that the Yavuz drillship would return to Cyprus waters for drilling operations, a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised that Turkey will begin exploration for gas “as soon as possible”.