The European Commission and the EU diplomatic service have proposed several possible measures on Turkey's drilling off Cyprus coast to EU leaders, Maja Kocijancic, the spokesperson for the vice president of the commission and EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said Thursday.
Turkish drilling vessel Yavuz sets sail in Izmit Bay, on its way to the Mediterranean Sea, off the port of Dilovasi, Turkey, June 20, 2019.
Tensions over hydrocarbons escalated sharply after the discovery of possibly huge gas reserves off Cyprus, where there are conflicting claims over territorial waters. "The EU should act on principles instead of taking the Greek Cypriot side", he said.More news: Met Police Launch Criminal Investigation Into Ambassador 'Inept' Email Leak
ExxonMobil, Total and Eni are among the firms that have won licences to search in blocks around the island.
But that's been seen as trying to have it both ways, to push Erdogan toward stopping the drilling in Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) where the legitimate government has licensed foreign companies to drill, with American energy giant ExxonMobil already reporting a major gas find. Ankara says its actions abide by global law and that it is drilling inside its continental shelf.
The island has been ethnically split between its majority Greek population in the south and Turks in the north since an Athens-inspired coup aimed at union with Greece prompted Ankara to order a full-scale invasion in 1974 and seize the northern third.More news: Karnataka political crisis | Trinamool organises Opposition protest in Parliament
On Tuesday, Washington urged all parties to exercise restraint.
Restrictive measures will continue should Turkey continue illegal drilling, however the European Union bloc needs Turkey in matters such as security and migration and there are member states that also rely on Turkey for energy transit.
The incident had been reported in the Turkish Cypriot media earlier this week and was also raised by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci during a meeting with United Nations special envoy Elizabeth Spehar on Wednesday.More news: Users unable to logon — Twitter down