EU’s top diplomat urges Turkey to respect Cyprus, Greece

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ΕU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called on Turkey to respect the sovereignty of Cyprus and Greece and stop drilling in their territorial waters.

Borrell was commenting on the announcement by Turkey it would conduct exploration activities near Crete and the Dodecanese and carried out exploration drills in Cyprus waters.

“We are in close contact with our colleagues the Foreign Ministers of Greece and also Cyprus in order to follow the situation of the drillings and we are calling Turkey to stop drilling in the areas where there is the EEZ or territorial waters of Cyprus and Greece,” said Borrell.

He said the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council has already delivered a strong message addressed to Turkey.

“In our negotiations with Turkey, for the time being, there are just talks, this is an issue of utmost importance. Some Member States even consider that as far as the drilling continues talks should not be continuing.”

“But I think the only way of solving this kind of issue is to reach out closer to see what can we do in order to make Turkey understand that our good relations will depend critically on the respect of the sovereignty of Cyprus and Greece on the waters under dispute.”

Turkish drillship Yavuz arrived last April in the exclusive economic zone (ΕΕΖ) of Cyprus after Ankara announced another attempt to drill a well in blocks licensed to European oil and gas majors.

It was the sixth time Turkey has attempted to drill within Cyprus’ EEZ and continental shelf.

This time around it covers part of exploration blocks 6 and 7, which have been licensed by Nicosia to energy giants Italy’s ENI and France’s TOTAL.

Brussels has imposed sanctions on Turkey for its illegal operations in Cyprus.

Greece’s Foreign Ministry on Monday protested against Turkey’s state petroleum company (TPAO) publishing a map of exploration areas that included Greece’s continental shelf.