EU says Turkey creating more tension in East Med

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Turkey issuing another Navtex to conduct seismic survey activities affecting Greece and Cyprus maritime zones are deeply regrettable and disruptive, European Commission spokesman Peter Stano said.

Stano was commenting on Turkey issuing a maritime notice to conduct seismic research in Cyprus waters.

“This is yet another course of action that, unfortunately, continues to create more tensions and distrust in the region instead of contributing to lasting solutions.”

“Dialogue in good faith and abstention from unilateral actions are crucial elements for reaching a stable and secure environment in the Eastern Mediterranean and developing a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship between the EU and Turkey.

Differences need to be discussed and sorted at the negotiations table,” Stano said in Brussels.

Cyprus, also on Wednesday, strongly condemned Turkey conducting new illegal seismic surveys within its continental shelf and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

A statement from the Presidency said that the illegal Turkish Navtex issued late Tuesday covers part of the maritime area, which has been legally demarcated with Egypt and blocks 5 and 6 of the Cyprus EEZ.

Block 6 has been licensed to energy giants Italy’s Eni and France’s Total for exploration.

“With this completely provocative action, Turkey continues to act as a serial violator of international law, and stubbornly refuses to comply with the repeated calls of the European Union and the international community to end its illegal actions and respect the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus,” the Presidency statement said.

It the new Turkish seismic surveys constituted another “sign of contempt” for the EU, after EU leaders took a clear position on the issue, calling on Turkey to refrain from unilateral actions.

The European Council said it would re-evaluate Ankara’s behaviour in December when sanctions could be considered.

“Turkey must realise, that such actions do not contribute to the creation of a positive climate that should exist so that a productive dialogue can take place to resolve the Cyprus problem.”