EU warns Turkey over illegal drilling in Cyprus territory



The European Union Foreign Affairs High Representative, Federica Mogherini warned Turkey on Monday about its illegal drilling in member Cyprus Republic's exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Mogherini issued the warning during a press conference following a Foreign Affairs Council meeting where she noted the close collaboration of Greek and Cypriot authorities with the EU on the issue and expressed "serious concern" on behalf of the EU over Turkey's intention to proceed with drilling in Cyprus' EEZ, reiterating a statement she had made on May 4.

She also cited a statement from March 2018 in which EU member state leaders condemned Turkeys' continued illegal actions in the East Mediterranean.

She then called on Turkey to urgently exercise self-restraint and to respect Cyprus' sovereign rights in its EEZ, refraining from illegal actions that the EU will respond to as necessary and in full solidarity with Cyprus. The EU foreign affairs official also referred to the EU leaders Sibiu summit last week, in which attending foreign ministers took a clear stance in full support of Cyprus.

From his side, Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Katrougalos said that Cyprus and Greece both spoke of Turkey's illegal actions, including drilling, in Cyprus' exclusive economic zone (EEZ) on Monday.

"I said what is self-evident, that the Hellenic Republic stands by the Cyprus Republic with all means available, and the EU should do the same," Katrougalos said, a message that was "accepted unanimously with no disagreement, as it reflected earlier EU decisions."

The issue, he said, was discussed ex agenda, therefore discussion could not go in depth.

Today's Council was focused on recent developments in Libya and on an exchange of views on the Sahel, in view of their joint session the next day with foreign and defence ministers of the G5 Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger).