Greece, Cyprus express concern over Turkish illegal interference at sea

The leaders of Greece and Cyprus on Tuesday condemned Turkey's illegal exploration activities in the eastern Mediterranean and renewed calls for talks to resolve the conflict on the divided island for decades.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said after meeting Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades that the two leaders expressed "serious concerns about illegal Turkish interference at sea".

He continued in a statement, they "reiterate their full desire to re-launch negotiations leading to a viable solution to the Cyprus issue," according to Agence France-Presse.

Turkey has repeatedly defied European and US warnings to stop gas exploration off the coast of Cyprus.

The discovery of huge gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean has sparked a dispute between Cyprus and Turkey, which has sent two oil and gas exploration ships in the region.

The island is divided between the EU member Cyprus and the unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which was declared in the north after the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island in response to a coup by Greek Cypriot nationalists aimed at annexing the island to Greece.

In July, Cyprus condemned Turkey launching a new oil and gas exploration off the divided island, saying it was "an escalation of ongoing Turkish violations."


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