A boy holding a Turkish flag watches as Turkish acrobatic jets fly, during a military parade celebration marking the 45th anniversary of the 1974 Turkish invasion in the Turkish occupied area of the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Saturday, July 20, 2019. Cyprus was split into Greek Cypriot south and Turkish Cypriot north in 1974 when Turkey invaded in response to a coup by supporters of a union with Greece. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Turkey steps up drilling activities around Cyprus

July 20, 2019 - 7:31 am

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Turkey's vice president says his country is stepping up a search for hydrocarbons off ethnically divided Cyprus with the dispatching of a survey vessel to join two drillships and another research craft operating in waters around the east Mediterranean island nation.

Fuat Oktay says Turkey will "never submit" to sanctions imposed by the European Union over its drilling and won't hesitate to take additional steps in defense of its rights and those of breakaway Turkish Cypriots to the area's energy reserves.

The EU says Turkey is drilling in waters exclusive to EU member Cyprus and is therefore a breach of international law.

Oktay was speaking at celebrations marking the 45th anniversary of the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus that followed a coup mounted by supporters of union with Greece.

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