EU calls on Turkey to avoid causing tensions with Cyprus after ship incident

EPA-EFE/STEPHANIE LECOCQ

European flags flutter in the wind in front of the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium, 27 October 2017.

EU calls on Turkey to avoid causing tensions with Cyprus after ship incident


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The European Commission on Monday called on Turkey to refrain from escalating tensions with neighbouring Cyprus after the Nicosia accused the Turkish military of obstructing an exploration ship.

“Turkey needs to commit unequivocally to neighborly relations and avoid any kind of source of friction, threat or action directed against a member state”.

Relations between the EU and Turkey have become strained in recent years after a severe crackdown following a failed Turkish coup in 2016. The bloc will attempt to improve relations at an upcoming summit in Bulgaria.

On Sunday, Cyprus said the Turkish military obstructed the sailing path of a vessel contracted by Italian oil company Eni. The Saipem 12000 rig approached a natural gas exploring area and was halted on Saturday by a Turkish Navy ship. The Saipem 12000 is to start activity under a license provided by Cyprus, but Turkey opposes the move, saying it affects the natural resources of Turkish Cypriots on the occupied north of Cyprus.

“We call on Turkey to halt from taking further unlawful actions and comply with its obligations stemming from international law,” the Greek foreign ministry said in a statement.

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