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World: Cyprus: EU partners aim to rein in Turkey's 'expansionism'

Leaders of Russia, Turkey, Iran talk about stabilizing Syria

  Leaders of Russia, Turkey, Iran talk about stabilizing Syria MOSCOW (AP) — The leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran on Wednesday discussed efforts to stabilize Syria in a video call, emphasizing the need to promote a political settlement for the nine-year conflict. Russia and Iran have staunchly supported Syrian President Bashar Assad throughout the country's war, while Turkey has backed his foes. However, the three countries have pooled their efforts to help end hostilities. Russian President VladimirRussia and Iran have staunchly supported Syrian President Bashar Assad throughout the country's war, while Turkey has backed his foes. However, the three countries have pooled their efforts to help end hostilities.

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus and its European Union partners are working to rein in Turkey’s “expansionist policy” in the eastern Mediterranean amid heightened tensions over an offshore search for hydrocarbons, the island nation's president said Tuesday.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, right, and Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative and Vice-President of the European Commission, speak during a joint news conference, in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, July 6, 2020. Turkey's Foreign Minister on Monday called on the European Union to be an © Provided by Associated Press Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, right, and Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative and Vice-President of the European Commission, speak during a joint news conference, in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, July 6, 2020. Turkey's Foreign Minister on Monday called on the European Union to be an "honest broker" in disputes between Turkey and EU member states France, Greece and Cyprus, warning that his country would be forced to "reciprocate" against any decisions the bloc takes against Ankara.(Cem Ozdel/Turkish Foreign Ministry via AP, Pool)

President Nicos Anastasiades said that the 27-member bloc needs to take stock of how much leeway it will give an “insolent” Turkey that wants to control the region.

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Anastasiades’ remarks came a day after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his country would “reciprocate” if the EU takes measures censuring Turkey for carrying out a gas search in waters where Cyprus has exclusive economic rights.

“Unfortunately, we're talking about an agitator that's seeking to dominate the entire eastern Mediterranean and place under its control a number of countries that ring the eastern Mediterranean," Anastasiades said.

“This is incomprehensible and unacceptable not only on the basis of international justice, but also based on customary friendly relations that neighboring countries should hold."

Museum or mosque? The battle over the fate of Turkey's historic Hagia Sophia

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Turkey doesn’t recognize Cyprus as a state and has dispatched warship-escorted ships to drill for gas in Cyprus' exclusive economic zone, including in areas where the Cypriot government has licensed international energy companies like French Total and Italy's Eni to drill.

Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative and Vice-President of the European Commission, left, and Turkey's Defense Minister Hulusi Akar greet each other before a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, July 6, 2020. Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday called on the European Union to be an © Provided by Associated Press Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative and Vice-President of the European Commission, left, and Turkey's Defense Minister Hulusi Akar greet each other before a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, July 6, 2020. Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday called on the European Union to be an "honest broker" in disputes between Turkey and EU member states France, Greece and Cyprus, warning that his country would be forced to "reciprocate" against any decisions the bloc takes against Ankara.(Turkish Defense Ministry via AP, Pool)

Turkey claims almost half of Cyprus' economic zone and insists it's acting to protect its interests and those of breakaway Turkish Cypriots to the area's energy reserves.

Trump's White House press secretary invoked the 'Armenian genocide,' but the US government has never officially recognized it and this could anger Turkey

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Cyprus was ethnically split in 1974 when Turkey invaded following a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Only Turkey recognizes a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence. Cyprus joined the EU in 2004, but only the internationally recognized south enjoys full membership benefits.

Cavusoglu held talks Monday with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who traveled in a bid to ease tensions. Turkey's top diplomat said Ankara expects the bloc to act as an “honest broker” with regard to energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean instead of expressing its backing for Cyprus' rights.

An offshore drilling rig is seen in the waters off Cyprus' coastal city of Limassol as a sailboat sails in the foreground on Sunday, July 5, 2020. Cyprus has in recent years been a resupply stop for rigs drilling in the eastern Mediterranean, including waters were the Cypriot government has licensed international energy companies to search of hydrocarbons. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias) © Provided by Associated Press An offshore drilling rig is seen in the waters off Cyprus' coastal city of Limassol as a sailboat sails in the foreground on Sunday, July 5, 2020. Cyprus has in recent years been a resupply stop for rigs drilling in the eastern Mediterranean, including waters were the Cypriot government has licensed international energy companies to search of hydrocarbons. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Borrell said EU-Turkey relations aren't “passing through the best moment” and called for increased cooperation and dialogue.

Politicians, activists fear Erdoğan's agenda after Hagia Sophia mosque ruling .
Analysts said the decision was an attempt to maintain Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's popularity among his religious and nationalist conservative base.The Hagia Sophia was once a cathedral, and then it was a mosque. And then, in 1934, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk— the founder of modern Turkey, who aspired to build a secular state — declared it a museum.

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