EU governments are expected to express ‘serious concerns’ about Turkey`s drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean and will vow to “respond appropriately in full solidarity with the Republic of Cyprus” in a statement drafted today, which will be issued on Tuesday by the General Affairs Council (European Affairs Ministers), according to diplomatic sources who briefed the press in Luxembourg.
In particular, the EU will reiterate its condemnation of “Turkey`s illegal activities in the Eastern Mediterranean” and will note that “Turkey continues to move away from the EU”. The EU28 reiterate that accession negotiations were halted and that “there are no other chapters that are being considered for opening or closing” and warn that there is no provision for further work towards the modernization of the EU-Turkey Customs Union.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Last month Turkey issued a navigational telex, announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus until September 3.
Since May 4, the Turkish drill ship “Fatih”, accompanied by three service ships, is located almost 40 nautical miles west of the Akamas peninsula and 83 nautical miles from the Turkish coast. The area falls within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus.
Statements by Turkish officials and press reports say that Ankara started drilling off the coast of Cyprus. On Sunday Cyprus’ Government Spokesman said that Nicosia possesses information in relation to Turkey’s drilling activity off the coast of Cyprus but is not in a position to confirm it.