Turkish drilling vessel Yavuz sets sail in Izmit Bay, on its way to the Mediterranean Sea, off the port of Dilovasi, Turkey. File photo/ Reuters
Turkey’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday it rejected statements by Greek and European Union officials that Turkish drilling for gas and oil off Cyprus was illegitimate and said the EU could not be an impartial mediator on the Cyprus problem.
The ministry said in a statement that Turkey’s Fatih ship had started drilling activities to the west of the Mediterranean island at the start of May and its Yavuz ship had recently arrived to the east of Cyprus and would conduct drilling activities.
EU foreign ministers on Monday agreed measures including cutting 145.8 million euros ($164 million) in pre-accession financial funds to Turkey allocated for 2020.
The European Union will put on hold high-level talks with Ankara and negotiations on an air transport agreement, as well as freeze funding for Turkey next year, over “illegal” drilling for gas and oil off Cyprus,
Damascus said on Thursday it rejects a US-Turkish plan to establish a buffer zone in northern Syria, blaming Syria’s Kurds for the proposal, state media said.
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