Turkey Blasts Countries for Condemning Illegal Drilling Off Cyprus

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Turkey reacted angrily on Monday to a joint declaration issued earlier in the day by Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, France and the United Arab Emirates denouncing “ongoing illegal Turkish activities” in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said the declaration “is a case in point of the hypocrisy of a group of countries who are seeking regional chaos and instability.”

The foreign ministers of the five countries had earlier discussed the latest developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, agreeing that Turkey’s efforts to tap natural gas deposits in Cyprus’ EEZ represent “a clear violation of international law.”

The ministers also condemned the escalating number of Turkish violations of Greek airspace, including flights over populated areas and territorial waters, which are also in violation of international law.

In addition, the ministers condemned the systematic exploitation of civilians by Turkey and the attempt to push them toward illegally crossing the Greek land and sea borders earlier this Spring.