US Calls on Turkey to Halt Mediterranean Gas Exploration Activities

The drilling vessel Fatih which was deployed by Turkey to search for gas and oil in waters considered part of the Cyprus's exclusive economic zone seen

The drilling vessel Fatih which was deployed by Turkey to search for gas and oil in waters considered part of the Cyprus's exclusive economic zone seen

Turkey will continue carrying out hydrocarbons exploration in Cyprus' exclusive economic zone despite the European Union's negative reaction, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

The Turkish Fatih ship started drilling last month 42 miles (67 kilometers) off Cyprus' west coast.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has said that Turkish drilling off Cyprus is of "serious concern" and called the sending of the second ship, the Yavuz, yet another unacceptable escalation.

Cyprus has been split between a Turkish Cypriot north and Greek Cypriot south since 1974 when Turkey sent troops to the island in response to a Greek military coup.

Several peacemaking efforts have failed and the discovery of offshore resources in the eastern Mediterranean in the 2000s has complicated the negotiations.

Reportedly the European External Action Service would also advise member states to refrain from high-level contacts with Turkey. Turkish Cypriots claim most of seven blocks in the east.

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"Israel follows with serious concern recent steps taken by Turkey in the waters off Cyprus's northeast coast and reiterates its full support and solidarity with Cyprus in exercising its sovereign rights in its maritime areas and its opposition to any attempt to violate these rights", Nachshon wrote.

The United States and Egypt also joined a chorus of criticism this week, with Washington urging Turkish authorities "to halt these operations".

"In fact, the title "spoiled child of Europe" belongs to Greece".

Brussels called on Monday Turkey's "unnecessary escalation" and urged Ankara to stop drilling because it is illegal and can bring economic sanctions to them.

"On their own, these measures. can not and will not stop the destabilising behaviour of Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean or more generally", he told Cyprus' Sigma TV.

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