Turkey To Continue Drilling Operations Near Cyprus Despite EU Criticism Foreign Ministry

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The State Department said Monday that Turkeys action in drilling for oil and gas off the coast of the divided island of Cyprus was a provocative step that raises tensions in the region. Thee has been no comment from Turkey which sent a drilling ship to the Mediterranean on Monday. Turkeys foreign ministry says it rejects statements by Greek and European Union officials that Turkish drilling for gas and oil off the island of Cyprus is illegitimate. Turkey claims having exploring rights off the island either through its own continental shelf or in zones where Turkish Cypriots have equal rights over any finds with Greek Cypriots. Turkeys Yavuz ship recently arrived to the east of Cyprus to become the second ship to conduct drilling activities there. On Tuesday a day after Cyprus protested against the Yavuz dropping anchor there. ANKARA Turkey Turkey is rejecting European Union condemnation of its efforts to drill for gas in waters off the coast of Cyprus and says the bloc cannot be considered an impartial mediator for the divided island. Cyprus says Turkey is encroaching in waters where the east Mediterranean island nation has exclusive economic rights and the European Union has threatened sanctions. A second vessel has now sailed to an area off the Karpas peninsula on Cyprus east coast. President Tayyip Erdogan has been the subject of heavy criticism from the international community after he was accused of repeatedly violating Cyprus sovereignty

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