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Drilling row gets deeper as Turkey starts exploration

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Drilling row gets deeper as Turkey starts exploration


Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has confirmed Turkey has begun drilling in the eastern Mediterranean, even though an exclusive economic zone has been agreed by Cyprus and Israel.

The Greek Cypriot government started its own operation last week, prompting the Turkish premier to complain about a lack of international mediation.

Erdogan said: “Greek Cyprus is acting provocatively by drilling, and the institutions whose mission is to protect peace remain silent. Is this the way to solve problems? No, they can’t be solved this way. Many international issues are in deadlock. All the countries have to recognise that now.”

Officials in Ankara say they are angry the Greek Cypriot government is acting for its own benefit, and excluding northern Cyprus, which is only recognised as a state by Turkey.

Adding more tension, an Israeli firm may join the US company commissioned by Cyprus to start the drilling work.

The relationship between Turkey and Cyprus will come under even more pressure when Cyprus takes up the rotating presidency of the European Union next year – a decision which Turkey says contradicts EU principles because of ongoing border problems.

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