Turkey backed the proposal, Çavuşoğlu said on Sunday, but the Greek Cypriot government on Tuesday said it “cannot be accepted” since it does not tackle the resolution of the island’s 45-year-long division. Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades will reply in detail to Akıncı’s proposal, the government said.Cyprus has been split between an ethnic Greek south and an ethnic Turkish north since Ankara’s 1974 invasion.The Republic of Cyprus — an EU member that is internationally recognized, except by Turkey — has issued licenses to oil and gas giants, including Total, Eni and Exxon Mobil, and expects to start extracting gas by 2025.In response, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus — recognized only by Turkey — granted licenses to Turkey’s national oil and gas company TPAO.In May, Turkey announced it would start drilling in what is widely recognized as Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone, prompting an international uproar and condemnation from Brussels. Ankara claimed that the areas where it plans to drill are either part of its own continental shelf or in zones where Turkish Cypriots should have equal rights over any discoveries.The Turkish secular opposition backs the government on this issue. Its leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu denounced the EU’s measures on Tuesday, saying: “We have rights in the eastern Mediterranean and we will defend these rights until the end.” The EU’s decision to penalize Ankara come as Turkey, a NATO member, also braces for potential sanctions from the U.S. over its purchase of a Russian missile defense system. Also On POLITICO EU draws up measures against Turkey over Cyprus drilling By Jacopo Barigazzi Ankara will increase its hydrocarbon exploration efforts in the eastern Mediterranean in response to the EU’s decision to sanction Turkey, the country’s foreign affairs minister said Tuesday.On Monday, EU foreign ministers unanimously approved an initial series of measures against Turkey over Ankara’s drilling activities off the coast of Cyprus, which Brussels has condemned as “illegal.”Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu dismissed the move, saying that there was “no need to take it very seriously,” and added: “If you [EU] take such decisions against Turkey, we will increase activities [in the Eastern Mediterranean].” He added a fourth Turkish drill ship would be sailing to the region “as soon as possible,” according to state media agency Anadolu.The measures agreed Monday include a cut in pre-accession funding for Turkey in 2020 — in the order of €145.8 million — and freezing negotiations on an Open Skies agreement with Turkey as well as summits and high-level meetings.EU foreign ministers also asked the European Investment Bank to review its lending activities in Turkey and invited the Commission to work on possible sanctions targeting companies and individuals involved in the drilling activity.Çavuşoğlu’s defiant response came on the same day that the Cypriot government shot down a proposal by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı, who suggested forming a “joint committee” to ensure both communities on the ethnically-split island can benefit from the gas found in its waters.The Turkish Cypriot proposal, obtained by POLITICO and shared with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker as well as EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Saturday, envisioned setting up a joint committee under the auspices of the EU and the United Nations.It includes an offer by the Turkish Cypriot administration to halt any off-shore activity in disputed areas “as soon as the rights of the Turkish Cypriots over the off-shore resources of the Island are guaranteed.”
The 355th Operations Group consists of four squadrons and more than 300 personnel employing 55 A-10 aircraft. It provides warfighters with forces for close air support, air interdiction, forward air control, and combat search and rescue. It also manages base operations and conducts all formal course directed aircraft initial qualification and requalification training.355TH OPERATIONS SUPPORT SQUADRONThe 355th Operations Support Squadron supports 355th Fighter Wing combat missions tasked by the president, the secretary of defense and the chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. The squadron directs operational support functions including airfield, air traffic control, weather services, weapons and tactics, plans and exercises, and intelligence for an operations group with two A-10C squadrons. It also provides aviation support for nine other flying units on base and develops flying schedules for 14,000 sorties per year.355TH TRAINING SQUADRONThe 355th Training Squadron conducts and maintains academic, flying and device training for A-10C aircraft, meeting Air Force training requirements for more than 245 upgrade pilots and A-10C conversion pilots annually. It manages and assists development and approval of all aspects of ACC A-10 syllabi. The squadron also operates more than $11 million of advanced fighter aircraft simulators and provides quality assurance for aircrew training contracts valued at more than $5.7 million.354TH FIGHTER SQUADRONThe 354th Fighter Squadron maintains combat-ready posture for worldwide deployment of A-10C aircraft to deliver attack airpower for the defense of the U.S. and its global interests. It employs precision engagement to conduct day and night close air support, air interdiction, forward air control, and combat search and rescue, and integrates with special operations in support of U.S. national objectives.357TH AND 47TH FIGHTER SQUADRONSThe active-duty 357th “Dragons” and Air Force Reserve’s 47th “Termites” train pilots in the A-10 Thunderbolt II. They conduct all formal course directed aircraft transition, day and night weapons and tactics employment, day and night air refueling, and dissimilar air combat maneuvers. The squadrons train pilots to plan, coordinate, execute and control day and night close air support, air interdiction, and battlefield surveillance and reconnaissance. They also prepare pilots for combat mission-ready upgrade.