Turkey rejects Greek, EU claims that drilling off Cyprus illegitimate

Turkey rejects claims it is drilling illegally for gas off Cyprus

But that's been seen as trying to have it both ways, to push Erdogan toward stopping the drilling in Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) where the legitimate government has licensed foreign companies to drill, with American energy giant ExxonMobil already reporting a major gas find. The European Council said it was considering "appropriate measures" and would respond "in full solidarity with Cyprus" in light of the second exploration.

According to a draft statement by the European Council, with which most EU member-states are in agreement, the measures against Turkey would include suspending talks for a Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement and a halting of high-level dialogues for the time being.

But a year ago, Brussels took away 175 million euros in protest at what it saw as deteriorating human rights in Turkey.

The official said further details can not be revealed as the process is under way.

"It would only be targeting people linked to these specific illegal activities".

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But, as the bloc needs Turkey in matters such as security and migration, an European Union diplomat involved in the latest discussions told Reuters any future sanctions would be limited.

In a statement on Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Ministry rejected the statement of European Union officials which declared Turkish activities in the Eastern Mediterranean "illegal".

On Thursday, Turkey's ruling AK Party spokesman said the sanctions against Ankara would be a huge mistake for the EU. The step was taken "with the aim of improving the communication between the communities and bringing all Cypriots closer together", a joint statement from Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said.

Tatar told the reporters that they will write an official letter to the Greek Cypriot management regarding this issue and condemn the incident.

Nicosia pushed for tougher language.

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