Turkey steps up drilling activities around Cyprus

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Turkey’s vice president says his country is stepping up a search for hydrocarbons off ethnically divided Cyprus with the dispatching of a survey vessel to join two drillships and another research craft operating in waters around the east Mediterranean island nation.

Fuat Oktay says Turkey will “never submit” to sanctions imposed by the European Union over its drilling and won’t hesitate to take additional steps in defense of its rights and those of breakaway Turkish Cypriots to the area’s energy reserves.

The EU says Turkey is drilling in waters exclusive to EU member Cyprus and is therefore a breach of international law.

Oktay was speaking at celebrations marking the 45th anniversary of the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus that followed a coup mounted by supporters of union with Greece.

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