LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Developments in the Eastern Mediterranean will determine the future of relations between the European Union and Turkey, Greece and Southern Cyprus said Tuesday. 

Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias paid a visit to Southern Cyprus and met with his counterpart Nikos Christodoulides and President Nikos Anastasiadis.

Both sides decided the next step to take before the EU Foreign Ministers meeting to be held in Berlin on Aug. 27-28.

Claiming that Turkey’s activities in the region are directed against the EU, Dendias called on the bloc to respond to counter it.

He said Turkey is ignoring international and maritime law as well as European values.

Greece, Southern Cyprus and France have demanded that the EU impose sanctions on Turkey due to its activities in region.

Turkey last week resumed energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean after Greece and Egypt signed a controversial maritime delimitation deal.

The agreement came days after Ankara said it would postpone its oil and gas exploration as a goodwill gesture.

But after declaring the Greek-Egyptian deal “null and void,” Turkey authorized the Oruc Reis seismic research vessel to continue its activities in an area within the country’s continental shelf.

The ship will continue its two-week mission until Aug. 23 along with the vessels Cengiz Han and Ataman.

Turkey has consistently opposed Greece’s efforts to declare an exclusive economic zone based on small islands near Turkish shores, violating the interests of Turkey, the country with the longest coastline in the Mediterranean.

Turkey has also said that energy resources near Cyprus must be shared fairly between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which has issued Turkish Petroleum a license, and the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the only solution to the dispute was through dialogue and negotiation and urged Athens to respect Turkey’s rights.

*Writing by Gozde Bayar

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