Cyprus: EU to take tougher stance on Turkey over drilling

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus’ president says he believes the European Union will take a tougher line against Turkey over its bid to drill for gas in waters where the east Mediterranean island nation has exclusive economic rights.

President Nicos Anastasiades said Tuesday he’s optimistic the 28-member bloc will send a “stronger message” to Ankara than it has up to now.

Cyprus says any drilling by a Turkish drillship 40 miles off its western coastline is a flagrant violation of international law and its sovereign rights. Turkey says it’s protecting its rights and those of breakaway Turkish Cypriots to the area’s energy reserves.

Last week, the leaders of southern EU states said the bloc should “consider appropriate action” against Turkey if it doesn’t stop illegal gas drilling activities off Cyprus.

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