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Cyprus FM to brief EU on Turkey escalation

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Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides will on Monday brief his EU counterparts about Turkey illegally opening fenced-off Varosha as well as sending a research vessel back to the eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey has issued an unauthorised Navtex, for its Oruc Reis to conduct research activities in a region within the Republic of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The vessel will also be accompanied by two auxiliary ships, Ataman and Cengiz Han.

Christodoulides will inform his colleagues about the rising tensions in the region at the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg.

Tensions flared in August when Turkey sent the Oruc Reis to survey an area claimed by Greece, and Cyprus.

Turkey withdrew the ship in September ahead of diplomatic attempts to resolve the dispute.

Earlier this month, the EU threatened to bring in sanctions on Turkey if it failed to stop illegal drilling and energy exploration activities in waters of Cyprus and Greece.

After a brief respite, tensions have been aggravated by Turkey re-opening Varosha for the first time in 46 years and signalling it was returning to disputed East Med waters.

“In light of the relevant Conclusions of the recent European Council, the Foreign Minister will have the opportunity to brief the council about the latest illegal actions of Turkey regarding the fenced-off city…as well as the provocative issuing of a new illegal Navtex by Turkey,” said a Foreign Ministry statement.