Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday strongly condemned the recent European Union sanctions against Ankara for continuing gas exploration off Cyprus and promised to continue exploration in the region.
“The European Union, which has announced the alleged measures, does not hurt us as much as it does itself”, Erdogan told a televised news conference in Ankara.
“We’re continuing our activities in the field of exploration and we will continue with the same determination”, he said.
In mid-July, the European Union approved a series of political and financial measures as part of sanctions against Turkey for continuing illegal drilling in Cypriot waters despite European warnings.
The most important measure taken in this regard is to deduct 145.8 million euros from the European funds, which are supposed to benefit Turkey in 2020.
Ankara believes that the gas resources must be distributed fairly between them and Cyprus, which Nicosia strongly rejects.
The Cypriot authorities impose their authority only on the southern part of the island, while the northern section has been under the authority of the Turks since the Turkish occupation of this section in 1974 in response to a military coup in Nicosia.
French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday that France and the European Union would not tolerate Turkey’s illegal actions in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus.
During a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Paris, Macron expressed France’s solidarity with Greece and Cyprus over the illegal Turkish actions in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus.
Macron stressed in a press statement quoted by the Cyprus News Agency on Thursday that Greece is facing an increase in challenges in the eastern Mediterranean region because of Turkey’s actions in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus.
“The EU and France won’t show any tolerance on this issue”, Macron said, expressing France’s solidarity with Greece and Cyprus against Turkish illegal actions.