Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Cyprus that he will not hesitate to take “necessary steps” to prevent the country from drilling for gas in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“We are taking the necessary steps within the law, and we will try to continue as such,” Erdogan was quoted as telling a group of journalists on the plane returning from China late on July 2, according to newspaper Hurriyet.

“But if we come up against unlawful actions, we know how to speak the language, whichever they speak. It is unacceptable that those who have no legal rights there try to acquire gains,” he said.

A Turkish drill ship, the Fatih, has been anchored west of Cyprus since last month, and another drill vessel, the Yavuz, is scheduled to be deployed east of the island soon.

Commenting on the same subject during a visit to Geneva on Wednesday, the “foreign minister” of the Turkish-occupied northern part of the island, Kudret Ozersay, reiterated that hydrocarbon resources in the East Mediterranean belong to both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots.

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