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Brussels will react if Turkey continues illegal drills

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Brussels has warned Turkey that if it continues its illegal energy drills off Cyprus, the EU will respond with further sanctions, said Commission spokesman Peter Stano.

Turkey says it will continue drilling activity within Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There has been a break, but there has been no change in the EU`s position on illegal Turkish actions in the eastern Mediterranean, so the EU`s position is clear, unchanging,” Stano told CNA.

“We have reiterated many times that we express our concern and the strong condemnation of the continuing Turkish activity associated with illegal drilling in the eastern Mediterranean, we stand strong together with Cyprus,” he added.

The EU has already imposed targeted sanctions on Turkey for it illegal operations in the East Med.

“This is something that the Member States are closely monitoring, and indeed, if the illegal activities continue, the EU will continue to act as it has been described.”

Nicosia has also condemned Turkey’s policy to continue its illegal drilling operations in Cyprus’ EEZ.

Turkey issued on Wednesday an illegal NAVTEX for drilling operations in Cyprus’ EEZ by drillship Yavuz from April 20 – July 18.

Cyprus government spokesman, Kyriakos Koushos said Turkey’s policy is worsening an already tense situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, especially as the world is trying to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Turkey continues to follow a policy that ignores even the pandemic and does not respect the difficulties which countries are facing,” Koushos said.

“We condemn Turkey’s actions and we continue in a consistent manner to implement our policy which is based on the international law and the sovereign.”

“Turkey has been implementing gunboat diplomacy, and acting as the pirate of the Eastern Mediterranean, breaching and violating the international law and interfering with the sovereign rights of third countries, including Cyprus.”