EU urges Turkey to halt gas hunt in east Mediterranean

The European Union (EU) asked Turkey on Sunday to “immediately” stop searching for gas in a debated area of the eastern Mediterranean, as tensions rise with other countries in the region, reports BSS.

The call came after Ankara announced it planned to extend its search by drilling off the southwestern coast of Cyprus from next week.

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Turkey’s actions in the eastern Mediterranean have put it at loggerheads with its uneasy NATO ally Greece and the rest of the EU, with France declaring last week it would bolster its presence in the region in support of Athens.

Brussels has repeatedly called on Ankara to halt energy exploration off Cyprus, arguing that the drilling is illegal because it infringes on the country’s exclusive economic zone.

Turkey’s latest announcement “regrettably fuels further tensions and insecurity in the Eastern Mediterranean”, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced in a statement.

“This action runs counter and undermines efforts to resume dialogue and negotiations, and to pursue immediate de-escalation, which is the only path towards stability and lasting solutions, as reiterated by EU foreign ministers last Friday,” he said.

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