Turkey said on Sunday that its Yavuz energy drill ship would extend operations in the disputed waters off Cyprus until mid-September. The vessel will be accompanied by three other Turkish ships, according to a maritime notice that added “all vessels are strongly advised not to enter” the area.
Turkey had already entered waters disputed with Greece, another EU member.
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell issued a stern warning to Ankara on Sunday, calling on “the Turkish authorities to end these activities immediately and to engage fully and in good faith in a broad dialog with the European Union.”
Ankara’s operations, Borrell said, “regrettably fuels further tensions and insecurity in the Eastern Mediterranean” and “runs counter and undermines efforts to resume dialog and negotiations, and to pursue immediate de-escalation.”
Borrell convened an urgent meeting on Friday during which EU foreign ministers expressed concern about Turkey’s recent naval mobilizations that would “lead to greater antagonism and distrust” in the region.
Borrell also said he would prepare “options on further appropriate measures in case tensions do not abate,” according to the European Council.
A standoff has already intensified between Turkey and Greece over oil and gas exploration rights in the eastern Mediterranean. The two have been at loggerheads over overlapping claims for hydrocarbon resources in the waters.
Turkish exploration activities in the sea have angered the EU. France announced last week that it would temporarily reinforce its military presence in the eastern Mediterranean “in cooperation with European partners, including Greece.”