No More Talk, Cyprus Wants EU Sanctions Over Turkish Drilling

Turkey rejects claims it is drilling illegally for gas off Cyprus

"In light of Turkey's continued and new illegal drilling activities, the (EU) decides to suspend negotiations on the Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement and agrees not to hold further meetings of the high-level dialogues for the time being", the draft said.

These measures are amongst a variety of proposals that EU authorities' envoys will focus on Wednesday in Brussels and will restrict the European Investment Bank's sovereign-backed lending in Turkey and make sure a lower of some 146 million euros ($163 million) in help for next year, in line with a person accustomed to the matter.

But that's been seen as trying to have it both ways, to push Erdogan toward stopping the drilling in Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) where the legitimate government has licensed foreign companies to drill, with American energy giant ExxonMobil already reporting a major gas find.

"I can confirm, that as mandated by the European Council in June, the commission and the European External Action Service have this week put forward options to the council on appropriate measures to be taken in response to Turkey's drilling activities in Eastern Mediterranean". The discovery of huge gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean has sparked a dispute between European Union member Cyprus and Turkey, which last month sent a second ship, the Yavuz, to search for oil and gas in the region.

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The official said further details can not be revealed as the process is under way.

Egypt has also voiced protest against the Turkish drilling.

If Cyprus manages to block the statement then the issue will be deferred to European Union foreign ministers who meet in Brussels on July 15, likely to be kicked down the road again as Erdogan keeps getting his way. Only Turkey recognises the breakaway state of northern Cyprus.

Turkish Cypriot reports said water bottles were thrown at the bus and damage was done to its side-mirrors by angry Greek Cypriots but who they were was not immediately confirmed. Erdogan essentially dared Cyprus to try to take them into custody so far.

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