Responding to sanctions announced by the European Union over Turkey’s drilling activities within Cyprus’ territorial waters, Ankara on Tuesday said that it will dispatch a fourth vessel, the Oruc Reis, to the region.
“If you [EU] take such decisions against Turkey, we will increase activities. We already have three ships in the Eastern Mediterranean and will send a fourth as soon as possible,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a news conference in the North Macedonian capital of Skopje during a two-day visit.
He added that the EU “should understand that they cannot cope with Turkey [using] such methods.”
“We decide [about] what we will do in our own continental shelf,” Cavusoglu said, stressing that as long as the rights of the Turkish Cypriots are not guaranteed, “we will continue to increase our activities there.”
Reports Tuesday indicated that the seismic vessel will sail through the Dardanelles straits after August 15 and head south to the Eastern Mediterranean.
Meanwhile, as expected, Cyprus’ government has turned down a proposal by the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, Mustafa Akinci, to form a joint committee on managing natural gas discovered off the island’s coast.
Undersecretary to the President Vasilis Palmas said after a meeting of Greek-Cypriot party leaders chaired by President Nicos Anastasiades on Tuesday that the proposal contained provisions that “don’t serve the best interests of either the Cyprus Republic or the Cypriot people as a whole.”
Meanwhile Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will meet in Washington DC on Wednesday for the first time since taking office with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as well as National Security Adviser John Bolton and Senator Bob Menendez.