13:16 GMT23 September 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Turkish Foreign Ministry has condemned the declaration adopted at the Summit of the Southern EU Countries that expressed full support and solidarity with Cyprus and Greece in the face of Turkey's drilling activity in the Eastern Mediterranean and also proposed expanding sanctions against Ankara.

    The leaders of the so-called Med7 nations – France, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Cyprus and Malta – held a summit on the French island of Corsica on Thursday. They expressed full support and solidarity with Cyprus and Greece "in the face of the repeated infringements on their sovereignty and sovereign rights, as well as confrontational actions by Turkey" in a joint declaration.

    "The statements on the Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus issued in the joint declaration are biased, disconnected from the truth, and lack a legal basis," Turkish Foreign Ministry's spokesman said as quoted in a statement.

    The Turkish-Greek tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean escalated after Ankara began exploration drilling in the Greek-claimed waters in early August. Athens considers this territory to be its exclusive economic zone and has mobilized its armed forces to high alert, vowing to protect its sovereign rights by all means.

    Turkish seismic research vessel Oruc Reis is seen in Istanbul, Turkey, August 22, 2019. Picture taken August 22, 2019
    © REUTERS / Murad Sezer
    Turkish seismic research vessel Oruc Reis is seen in Istanbul, Turkey, August 22, 2019. Picture taken August 22, 2019

    Meanwhile, the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey have been engaged in a prolonged dispute over the offshore drilling rights since the discovery of the first gas deposits off the coast of the island in 2011, with Ankara rejecting the exclusive economic zone claims of Nicosia.

    Tags:
    drilling, Greece, Turkey
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