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Turkey slams EU criticism over new drilling off Cyprus

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A declaration by EU foreign ministers condemning Turkish drilling in the eastern Mediterranean is the “last example of a fruitless discourse,” Turkey’s foreign ministry spokesperson said on Saturday, the Anatolia news agency reported.

A joint statement by EU foreign ministers on Friday condemned Turkey’s violation of Greek airspace and territorial waters as well as Ankara’s “illegal” plans to drill inside Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy rebuffed Friday’s statement as “a by-product of unjust and unlawful claims” by Greece and Cyprus, adding that an attitude of this type “does not stand any chance of contributing to regional peace and stability.”

The bloc has repeatedly urged Turkey to end its energy exploration off the island, saying the drilling is illegal because it infringes on EU member Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone.

Aksoy also said at a time when the EU has failed to show solidarity in the fight against the novel coronavirus, it is interesting that it shows unconditional support when the matter is Greek Cyprus.

“We deplore that Turkey has not yet responded to the European Union’s repeated calls to cease such activities and reiterate our call on Turkey to show restraint, refrain from such actions, and respect the sovereignty and sovereign rights of Cyprus,” the bloc’s 27 foreign ministers said in a joint statement after talks on Friday.

Turkey insists its oil drilling is in accordance with international law and has argued that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognized only by Turkey, should have a share in the energy revenue.

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