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EU Calls on Turkey to End Illegal Activity in Mediterranean

EU Calls on Turkey to End Illegal Activity in Mediterranean

Wednesday, 15 May, 2019 - 08:15
Turkish marines take part in a live fire drill during the EFES-2018 Military Exercise near the Aegean port city of Izmir, Turkey on May 10, 2018. (Reuters)

The European Union, has called Turkey, once again, to end any illegal activity in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone, eastern of the Mediterranean, affirming its full solidarity with Nicosia.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini urged Ankara to abort plans for offshore drilling operation in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), warning that the Union will “respond appropriately” to any violation of international law.

“We call urgently on Turkey to show restraint, respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus in its exclusive economic zone and refrain from any such illegal action, to which the European Union will respond appropriately and in full solidarity with Cyprus,” Mogherini said following talks with EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday.

“This is the clear position that ministers expressed today in solidarity with Cyprus,” she said.

On May 3, Turkey announced it was launching gas exploration activities in the West Cyprus region, within its EEZ. This prompting concern from many parties, including the United States, EU, Egypt, Russia and Britain.

Head of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani said Turkey's intention to drill within Cyprus' EEZ violates international law and called on the country to avoid raising tension in the region.

“The Republic of Cyprus has the full and sovereign right to explore and exploit natural resources within its EEZ.”

In a move seen as a new provocation, Turkey launched Sea Wolf 2019 military exercise simultaneously in the Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Seas.

The exercise, supervised by the Turkish navy, will run through May 25 with 131 warships, 57 warplanes and 33 helicopters and participation of 25,900 military personnel, the Turkish General Staff said in a statement.

“With the exercise, we aim to show Turkish Armed Forces' resolution and capability in protecting the country's security as well as its rights and interests in the seas,” stated Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar.

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