Cypriot President Says Dialogue With Turkey Possible Only 'Without Blackmail or Threats'

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Cyprus is always ready to start a dialogue with Turkey to settle existing disputes, but only as long as the other side refrains from threats and blackmail, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Wednesday.

"I reiterate that Nicosia is always ready for a dialogue, but ... for the dialogue to be effective, it should be based on international law, without blackmail or threats," Anastasiades told reporters after talks with European Council President Charles Michel in Nicosia.

The president also expressed his regrets over the Turkish navy's decision to extend drilling operations off the coast of Cyprus, which was made while the EU was considering measures to put an end to Ankara's "illegal actions."

Tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean have been brewing for many months around Turkey's exploration for gas in waters that Cyprus and Greece claim as their exclusive economic zones. After Ankara issued a Navtex notice in August about sending the Oruc Reis ship to drill in what Greece considers its continental shelf, the latter put its armed forces on alert.

Earlier this week, Turkey’s navy issued another maritime advisory about extending drilling operations off Cyprus through 12 October.

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