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No need to take EU steps against Turkey seriously: foreign minister

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavuşoğlu said on Tuesday there is no need to take seriously decisions made by the European Union to curb contacts and funding for Ankara over its drilling for oil and gas off Cyprus, Reuters reported.

“The EU needs us. They have no other option but to remain in touch with us on migration and other issues,” he said.

“They are well aware that the implementation of these decisions is impossible. It is just a show of solidarity to satisfy the Greek Cypriots.”

He made the comments at a news conference, broadcast by CNN Türk, in the North Macedonian capital of Skopje.

Earlier, his ministry released a statement vowing that the conclusions “will in no way affect Turkey’s determination to continue its hydrocarbon activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

On the same day Turkey’s energy minister, Fatih Dönmez, announced on Twitter the dispatching of a new seismic exploration ship in addition to two drill ships and one seismic exploration ship that are already tasked with operating around Cyprus.

The EU Council on Monday adopted several conclusions on Turkey’s drilling activities, suspending negotiations on the Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement, reducing the pre-accession assistance to Turkey for 2020 and inviting the European Investment Bank to review its lending activities in Turkey, notably with regard to sovereign-backed lending.

The EU views Ankara’s activities as interference with Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone and has repeatedly warned Turkey to end drilling in waters around the island or face action from the bloc.

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