The EU decision to sanction Turkey will “only deepen division” on Cyprus Island and has no effect on Turkey, ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party spokesman said on Tuesday.
Omer Celik's remarks came a day after the EU Foreign Affairs Council adopted conclusions on the Turkish drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The council decided to suspend negotiations on the Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement and agreed not to hold the Association Council and further meetings of the EU-Turkey high-level dialogues for the time being.
"It is clear that their approach will not serve nothing more than to deepen the division on [Cyprus] island. These sanctions will have no effect on Turkey," Celik told reporters at his party's headquarter in Ankara.
He said Turkey's drilling vessels Fatih and Yavuz would continue their duties on the Eastern Mediterranean.
"Turkey will continue defending its sovereignty rights within its continental shelf," Celik added.
Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) also has rights to the resources in the area.
Since this spring, Ankara has sent two drilling vessels -- Fatih and most recently Yavuz -- to the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting the right of Turkey and the TRNC to the resources of the region.
Turkey’s first seismic vessel, the Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa, bought from Norway in 2013, has been conducting exploration in the Mediterranean since April 2017.
Athens and Greek Cypriots have opposed the move, threatening to arrest the ships’ crews and enlisting EU leaders to join their criticism.
In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus’ annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, the TRNC was founded.
The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the Cyprus dispute, all ending in failure. The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries -- Turkey, Greece, and the U.K. -- ended in 2017 in Switzerland.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.