BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:45 P.M.) – The European Union confirmed that it considered the energy exploration activities by Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean waters of the Republic of Cyprus illegal, pledging to respond to the resumption of these operations.
Joseph Borrell, the spokesman for the European Union High Commissioner for Security and Foreign Policy, said that institutions and member states will closely monitor and follow Turkey’s actions in the eastern Mediterranean.
“Our position has not changed, and we still believe that these actions are illegal and cause us concern,” the Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Peter Stano, said in a statement.
The spokesman expressed the union’s full solidarity with the Republic of Cyprus, the member state of the bloc, in preserving its legitimate sovereignty and rights.
Stano stressed that “illegal Turkish actions have been the focus of many discussions at various levels,” recalling that in November 2019 the European Union established a legal framework for restrictive measures against Turkey, which was followed in February 2020 by the imposition of sanctions on some of those involved in the excavations.
The European Union official stressed: “If Turkey continues what it is doing, we will respond and act within the framework that we set.”
This statement was made in response to Turkey’s resumption, after several months of interruption, of drilling and exploration operations in the eastern Mediterranean, specifically in the economic zone which is considered as exclusive to Cyprus.
On Thursday, a ship carrying a giant oil exploration platform entered the Çanakkale Strait (Dardanelles) in northwest Turkey, which connects the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, amid measures by the Turkish Coast Guard.