By Tugcenur Yilmaz
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday had a phone call with his German counterpart, according to the former’s diplomatic source.
Cavusoglu and German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass discussed Eastern Mediterranean and Syria issues, said the source, asking not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
The phone conversation came after the EU Foreign Affairs Council adopted Monday a conclusion on Turkish drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The council decided to suspend negotiations on the Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement and agreed not to hold the Association Council and further meetings of the EU-Turkey high-level dialogue for the time being.
Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) also has rights to the resources in the area.
Since this spring, Ankara has sent two drilling vessels — Fatih and most recently Yavuz — to the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting the rights of Turkey and the TRNC over the resources of the region.
The Turkish-flagged drillship, Fatih, launched offshore drilling operations this May in an area 75 kilometers (42 nautical miles) off the western coast of the island of Cyprus.
Athens and Greek Cypriots have opposed the move, threatening to arrest the ships’ crews and enlisting EU leaders to join their criticism.