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Turkey sending ‘wrong message’ with Cyprus drills

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Turkey’s continued gas drilling inside Cyprus waters is sending Europe the wrong message about its willingness to follow international norms and cooperate with its neighbours, said Germany.

German Foreign Ministry spokesperson Christopher Burger said on Wednesday that EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has the mandate to hold discussions with Turkey about its relations with Europe.

“The German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas supports Josep Borrell,” Burger said during a briefing in Berlin.

“We have, however, unambiguous expectations vis-à-vis Turkey. We expect positive steps towards de-escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean.

But yesterday’s announcements by Turkey to continue drilling in Cyprus, are the wrong message.”

Despite EU sanctions, Turkish drillship Yavuz in April entered the exclusive economic zone (ΕΕΖ) of Cyprus in another attempt to explore for gas in blocks Nicosia has licensed to European companies.

It is the sixth time Turkey has sent vessels into the EEZ and continental shelf of Cyprus, this time in an area that covers blocks 6 and 7 licensed to Italy’s Eni and France’s Total.

Ankara issued a NAVTEX covering that area for its illegal exploration activity.