OREANDA-NEWS. The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that Ankara does not take seriously the European Union's sanctions imposed against it because of geological exploration on the Cyprus shelf.

On July 15, the EU Council imposed the first sanctions in response to the drilling, which Turkey makes in the waters of Cyprus. It suspended the high-level dialogue and canceled the meetings of the EU – Turkey  Association Council, reduced the value of economic assistance planned for 2020, recommended the European Investment Bank to review Turkey’s loan decisions and decided to continue working on other sanctions.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said that Ankara will continue extraction of hydrocarbons in the Mediterranean, despite the EU’s decision. Çavuşoğlu noted that if one considers the EU’s decision to be the sanctions, it means taking it seriously. But we shouldn’t do that, he said, because the decision was made to satisfy the Greek part of Cyprus. According to Çavuşoğlu, the problem is that the rights of the Turkish community of the island are not taken into account. “We will continue to protect their rights and intensify our activities. I hope we will soon send one more ship,” the Minister said on TV.

There are two Turkish drilling rigs in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus, where gas fields were found. Greece and Cyprus consider this fact to be a provocation. Turkey believes that it has the right to extraction of natural resources in the region.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has previously noted that Moscow is anxious about Turkey’s actions in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus.