The European Union will consider taking “appropriate” measures against Turkey over its gas drilling activities in Cyprus’ offshore maritime zone, according to a press release by the General Affairs Council (GAC) Tuesday.
The news came as Cyprus and Greece put pressure on EU countries to take action against Turkey over its announced intention to drill for gas in Cyprus' exclusive economic zone.
“The Council expresses serious concerns over Turkey's current illegal drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean and deplores that Turkey has not yet responded to the European Union's repeated calls to cease such activities,” GAC said in a statement after a meeting of ministers in Luxembourg.
The Council said these actions will have a “serious immediate negative impact” across the range of EU-Turkey relations and called on Turkey to show restraint and respect the sovereign rights of the EU member-state.
It also said the EU will closely monitor developments and “stands ready to respond appropriately and in full solidarity” with Cyprus.
“The Council invites the Commission and the European External Action Service to submit options for appropriate measures without delay,” it added.
Turkey's drilling ship Fatih has been anchored west of Cyprus since early May and recently began drilling. On Tuesday it was announced that a second ship, the Yavuz, will be dispatched to the area on Thursday.