03:43 GMT +311 December 2019
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    Oct. 30, 2018, Turkey's new drillship 'Conquerer' is seen off the coast of Antalya, southern Turkey

    US State Dept Urges Turkey to Halt Drilling Operations in Waters Off Cyprus

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States calls on Turkey to halt drilling for oil and gas near Cyprus because the provocative move will only raise tensions in the region, State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a press release.

    On Monday, a Turkish ship dropped anchor near Cyprus in order to start drilling for oil and gas on the shelf. The EU and Cyprus government protested the move while Russia’s Foreign Ministry expressed concerns.

    "The United States remains deeply concerned by Turkey’s repeated attempts to conduct drilling operations in the waters off Cyprus and its most recent dispatch of the drillship Yavuz off the Karpas Peninsula," Ortagus said on Tuesday. "We urge Turkish authorities to halt these operations and encourage all parties to act with restraint and refrain from actions that increase tensions in the region."

    The State Department also warned that the "provocative step" will only raise tensions in the region, the release said.


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