Turkey-Cyprus tension may push EU to freeze talks with Ankara

Turkey-Cyprus tension may push EU to freeze talks with Ankara

The European Union will threaten to freeze talks on an upgraded customs union with Turkey if it does not stop drilling for gas in disputed waters near Cyprus, according to draft conclusions of a General Affairs Council.

"The EU stands ready to respond appropriately and in full solidarity with Cyprus," the draft text, seen by the Bloomberg news agency, said.

Last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara has started drilling in the west of Cyprus.

The discovery of lucrative energy reserves in the eastern Mediterranean has drawn into sharper focus long-standing tensions between Turkey and the Greek Cypriot government, Reuters recalls.

A Turkish drill ship has been anchored west of Cyprus since May. Cyprus and Greece say the vessel is encroaching into Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) - an area which Cyprus can use for commercial exploitation. Turkey says the area is on its continental shelf.

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