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16 July 2019 Turkey continues drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean despite EU’s measures

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced on 16 July that EU’s punitive measure will not affect its “determination to continue hydrocarbon activities in the Eastern Mediterranean”, after that on 15 July the EU Foreign Affairs Council strongly condemned Turkish drilling activities in Cyprus’ maritime zone. Tensions started on 13 July when Cavusoglu declared that Ankara will continue drilling for gas in Eastern Mediterranean if the Cypriot government does not accept the cooperation program proposed by the northern Cypriot authorities. The proposal was presented at the UN and it was aimed to create a cooperation mechanism between the two governments of the island, considering them as co-owners of the resources. Both Nicosia and the EU consider Turkish activities against international law and for that reason the issue was at the centre of the EU Foreign Affairs Council. The EU Foreign Ministers agreed on several measures against Ankara such as calling off high-level political meetings, suspending negotiations on an aviation deal and reducing EU accession funding earmarked for Turkey. They also invited the European Investment Bank to review its lending activities in the country. Despite these measures, Ankara announced that another ship will be sent to the area.