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EU leaders to condemn Turkey over Cyprus gas blockade at Erdogan meeting

EU leaders are set to condemn Turkey’s efforts to stop natural gas exploration off Cyprus ahead of a meeting next week between top EU officials and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In a draft statement, they call on Ankara “to cease these actions and respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources in accordance with EU and international law,” AP reports. Turkey said it is ready to prevent any drilling off Cyprus without the direct involvement of the ethnically divided island’s breakaway Turkish Cypriots. The EU leaders, meeting in Brussels Thursday and Friday, urged Turkey to normalize ties with Cyprus, which was split in 1974 when Turkey invaded in response to a coup by supporters of union with Greece.