Turkey to commence drilling off Cyprus coast within a week, US and EU react

Turkey to commence drilling off Cyprus coast within a week, US and EU react
Published: 10 July 2019 - 6:45 a.m.
By: Carla Sertin

Turkey's Yavuz ship has dropped anchor off the coast of Cyprus to drill for oil and gas, raising tensions with Cyprus, the European Union (EU) and the United States (US).

The EU's foreign policy arm issued a statement noting that Turkey's actions, which it considers illegal, are of "grave concern," and called it a violation of the sovereignty of Cyprus. It noted that several bodies will soon present the European Council with options for retaliation.

The US State Department issued a statement noting that it "remains deeply concerned by Turkey's repeated attempts to conduct drilling operations in the waters off Cyprus and its most recent dispatch of the drillship Yavuz off the Karpas Peninsula."

State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus continued to urge Turkey to cease its operations. "Energy resource development in the Eastern Mediterranean should foster cooperation, increase dialogue between the two communities and among regional neighbors, and provide a foundation for durable energy security and economic prosperity," the statement read.

Turkish Energy minister Fatih Donmez said on Saturday that the drillship Yavuz would start its operations in a week, according to Anadolu news agency. This is the second ship sent by Turkey to the Mediterranean island.

When Turkey announced that it would launch the second ship, which is expected to operated at a depth of 3,300m near Cyprus' Karpas Peninsula, the European Council condemned its decision and in a statement noted that "the EU will continue to closely monitor developments and stands ready to respond appropriately and in full solidarity with Cyprus."

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