By KEREM HASAN
TURKEY has hit back at the EU after it criticised Ankara for increasing tensions in the eastern Mediterranean with its drilling for hydrocarbons and for “failing to normalise relations” with South Cyprus.
The criticism was in the Cyprus section of the European Commission's annual “progress report” on Turkey, released on Wednesday.
“Tensions in the region around the prospect of hydrocarbon exploration off the coast of Cyprus increased due to Turkey's actions and statements challenging the right of the Republic of Cyprus to exploit hydrocarbon resources in the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ),” said the report.
“In May 2019, Turkey sent a drilling platform accompanied by military vessels to the Republic of Cyprus' EEZ, so escalating tensions further. The European Commission recalls the European Council statement of March 2018 strongly condemning Turkey's continued illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea.
“It also recalls Turkey's obligation to respect international law and good neighbourly relations and calls on Turkey to respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources in accordance with EU and International Law.
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