By Ata Ufuk Seker and Serife Cetin
BRUSSELS (AA) - The EU Commission put forward options on measures against Turkish activities in the Eastern Mediterranean to the EU Council, according to an EU official on Thursday.
Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for EU Foreign Affairs & Security Policy, in a press conference said: "The Commission and European External Action Service have this week put forward options to the Council on appropriate measures to be taken in response to Turkey's drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean."
She added that it is the European Council to take the issue forward.
The EU had previously claimed that Turkey's activities regarding hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean are illegal and the union will take some measures on that.
The EU countries' representatives continue their negotiations over the possible measures and the final text is expected to be approved at EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting on July 15.
The attitude of the EU on the Eastern Mediterranean has drawn harsh criticism of Turkey.
In a statement on Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Ministry rejected the statement of EU officials which declared Turkish activities in the Eastern Mediterranean “illegal”.
The statement said the EU has become an actor of the play of unlawfulness staged by the Greek Cypriot-Greek partnership against the rights of the Turkish Cypriots who are the co-owners of the island.
Since this spring Ankara has sent two drill ships -- Fatih and Yavuz -- to the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting the right of Turkey and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) to the resources of the region.
The Turkish-flagged drill ship 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 Southern Cyprus have opposed the move, threatening to arrest the ships’ crews and enlisting EU leaders to join their criticism.
Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the TRNC also has rights to the resources in the area.
In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus's annexation by Greece, Ankara intervened as a guarantor power. In 1983, the TRNC was founded.
* Contribution and writing by Fatih Hafiz Mehmet in Ankara