Turkey vows to continue Cyprus drilling activities despite EU sanctions

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Turkey's first drilling vessel, Fatih, starts conducting its first deep drilling in offshore Antalya on the county's southern Mediterranean coast, Turkey on October 30, 2018. AFP PHOTOS

In the wake of a decision from European Union foreign ministers on Monday who agreed on economic sanctions due to Turkey’s drilling off the coast of Cyprus, the Turkish Foreign Ministry has said Turkey will never bow to threats and will continue exploration and drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The EU decision, reflecting a broader deterioration in EU-Turkey ties, aims to punish Ankara for violating Cyprus’ maritime economic zone by drilling off the divided island. It follows a separate decision to halt new arms sales to Turkey over Ankara’s Oct. 9 incursion into Syria.

“We have repeatedly and strongly emphasized that in the Eastern Mediterranean, we will not cease to protect our rights stemming from international law and rights and interests of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, despite all of the unintelligible steps of the European Union,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday evening.

Turkey, which is a candidate for EU membership, says it is operating in waters on its own continental shelf or areas where Turkish Cypriots have rights.

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