Turkey to send fourth ship to East Med, despite EU sanctions decision

Turkey to send fourth ship to East Med, despite EU sanctions decision

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Turkey will send a fourth ship to Eastern Mediterranean as part of its hydrocarbon drilling activities, despite a decision by the European Council to impose sanctions on Ankara, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on July 16.

The European Union “had to take these valueless decisions just to satisfy Greek Cypriots,” Çavuşoğlu told reporters at a press conference.

Recalling the council’s decision to suspend negotiations with Ankara on the Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement, Çavuşoğlu reminded reporters that the process was already stalled due to blockage by Greek Cypriots.

“These are the repetition of the same things,” undermining the EU sanctions, the Turkish foreign minister said.

Citing the EU call to the European Investment Bank to review its lending activities in Turkey, the minister said the European bloc always criticized political interference in central banks of the countries, but now it “gives an order” to the European bank.

Elaborating on the EU’s decision “not to hold the Association Council and further meetings of the EU-Turkey high-level dialogues for the time being,” Çavuşoğlu said that “it’s not important … to hold discussions or not.”

“They know that the practice [of the sanctions] is not possible,” he said, noting that the EU has to continue talks with Ankara on the issues of refugees and others.

“Whether the issue of migration or others, they have to come to us. There is no other way,” he said.

Turkey already announced its determination to increase drilling activities in the region if the EU takes such a decision. Turkey has three ships in the region at the moment, and the country will send a fourth one to the Eastern Mediterranean, he stated.

“We will continue to increase our activities,” Çavuşoğlu added.

The unilaterally declared exclusive economic zone of the Greek Cypriots administration violates part of Turkey’s continental shelf, particularly in Blocks 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7.

Turkey’s two drilling ships, Yavuz and Fatih, have recently been dispatched to the region with the support of the Turkish Navy. Turkey’s first seismic vessel, the Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa, bought from Norway in 2013, has been carrying out exploration in the Mediterranean since April 2017.

“The MTA Oruç Reis seismic research ship, which has been conducting seismic surveys in the Black Sea and Marmara since August 2017, will be sent to conduct seismic surveys in the Mediterranean Sea,” Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez said in a Twitter post on July 16.

The European Council’s decision to suspend high-level talks with Ankara won’t affect Turkey’s determination to continue hydrocarbon activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Foreign Ministry said on July 15.

Turkey will continue to protect its and Turkish Cypriots’ rights and will increase its activities in this aspect, the ministry said in a statement.

This decision shows how prejudiced and biased the European Union is on the Cyprus issue as Turkish Cypriots, who have equal rights to the natural resources of the island, are not mentioned and ignored, it said.

This decision is the latest example of how Greeks and Greek Cypriots abuse EU membership in line with their maximalist positions and how other EU countries become an instrument for carrying out this abuse, the Foreign Ministry stated.

The European Council published a final declaration on July 15 following a meeting of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council, which was attended by foreign ministers of its member states.

The council said in the statement that in light of “Turkey’s continued and new illegal drilling activities, the council will suspend negotiations on the Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement and agree not to hold the Association Council and further meetings of the EU-Turkey high-level dialogues for the time being.”__Hurriyet

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