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Cyprus had earlier called on the EU to impose sanctions against Ankara over “illegal drilling operations.” Turkey says it is conducting exploration work in the region in line with the licenses it had received from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a self-declared state on the divided island which is recognized only by Ankara.
An EU summit late last week postponed a decision on possible sanctions, warning Ankara they would be imposed if “provocations” were not stopped.
However, the head of Cyprus’ Democratic Rally party (DISY) said on Monday that the ship’s departure was a response to all those who had downplayed the recent EU summit decisions.
Ankara says sanctions will not scare it. “Sanctions against Turkey and the language of blackmail and threats will never yield success,” Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalin said late September. “European politicians should have seen this by now.”
Turkey is also in a dispute with Greece over energy resources and maritime borders. The two sides postponed their next round of technical talks on the eastern Mediterranean, Turkish security sources said on Sunday.
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