By KEREM HASAN and GILL FRASER
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu warned yesterday that Ankara would “take additional measures in the region" if sanctions were imposed, and declared: "The EU should not enter into this sort of a mistake through such nonsensical solidarity. [They should] teach the Greek Cypriot side to share, and steps taken against us will bring a backlash.”
In what was described as a "full-blown hydrocarbons crisis between Brussels and Ankara", a draft statement from the bloc on Thursday outlined proposed measures and said it stood ready to ramp up sanctions further.
"Despite our best intentions to keep good neighbourly relations with Turkey, its continued escalation and challenge to the sovereignty of our member dtate ‘Cyprus’ will inevitably lead the EU to respond in full solidarity," president of the European Council of ministers, Donald Tusk, said.
His words emphasised the fine line being trodden by the bloc in trying not to antagonise an important partner, while taking Ankara to task over what the EU sees as Turkish interference in waters claimed by South Cyprus as its Exclusive Economic Zone – but also seen by Turkey as part of its continental shelf and earmarked by the TRNC for exploratory hydrocarbons drilling.
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