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Politics

Anastasiades Briefs EU Chief Over Turkish Energy Drilling

Despite reluctance from the European Union to confront Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades filled in European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen about Turkish energy drilling off the island.

He asked for more decisive measures after the EU had issued only soft sanctions that didn't target Erdogan, with Turkey disputing parts of Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in which foreign companies had been licensed to hunt for oil and gas.

Anastasiades, who earlier had called out the EU for being too soft on Erdogan and Turkey, made his point in a phone call to Von der Leyen, said The Cyprus Mail, although it wasn't said what she said or would do about it.

In a written statement, Government Spokesperson Kyriacos Koushos said Anastasiades also discussed finances with her in the wake of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic that has left the island's economy hard hit because it's reliant on tourism.

“The Cypriot economy, which is based on the sectors of tourism and services, has been significantly hit, pointing out the need of further support from the EU,” Koushos added, the report said.

Anastasiades showed “Turkey’s destabilizing role on the Eastern Mediterranean, the illegal actions that place the wider region’s security and stability in danger and stressed the need for the EU to take more decisive measures so that the unacceptable Turkish goals can be deterred and for more pressure to be placed on Ankara, both to end its illegal drillings and to prevent any incidents which would undermine stability and security in the region,” Koushos said.

In a statement on May 15, EU foreign ministers said they were upset that Turkey hasn't responded to them as Erdogan has ignored the bloc's leaders repeatedly and forged ahead with drilling plans with no one stopping him so far.

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