Turkey's 'illegal drilling' undermines Turkey-EU ties: Tusk

FILE PHOTO: Donald Tusk, President of the European Council addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., September 26, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Council President Donald Tusk said on Monday that Turkey’s drilling off the coast of Cyprus would damage ties between the European Union and Turkey, after Ankara announced it will start drilling for oil and gas.

“Turkey’s continued illegal drilling activities only undermine good neighborly relations between the EU and Turkey,” Tusk said on Twitter. “The EU stands united behind Cyprus.”

Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said the Turkish drillship Yavuz will begin drilling for oil and gas southwest of Cyprus on Monday or Tuesday, a move that has intensified tensions with Turkey, which aims to join the European Union.

Reporting by Marine Strauss @StraussMarine; editing by Robin Emmott