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.”
Mississippi State quarterback Elijah Staley (left) and Nick Fitzgerald are the favorites to take over for Dak Prescott.STARKVILLE – Mississippi State begins bowl practices on Friday. The Bulldogs will hold nine workouts before breaking for Christmas. They’ll hold six more — including a walk-through — in Charlotte before the season ends in the Belk Bowl on Dec. 30.Bowl eligibility often judges the success of a team’s season, but it also supplies two weeks of extra practices.For veteran squads, seniors can sleepwalk through the practices until workouts at the bowl site resume. Mississippi State loses Dak Prescott, its best player, and turns to unproven quarterbacks in 2016. The extra workouts are vital to MSU’s progression heading into spring workouts.The first five practices are open to the public (Dec 11-15). Here are the positions fans will want to focus on. Quarterbacks Two-sport athlete Elijah Staley plans to travel with Mississippi State’s basketball team this weekend for its trip to Kansas City. The quarterback will rejoin the football team to close out bowl practices. He’ll also travel to Charlotte for the game. Immediately following the Belk Bowl, he’ll become a basketball player again.Staley and Nick Fitzgerald are the favorites heading into 2016 to take over for Prescott. Fitzgerald played in seven regular season games, completing 11 of 14 passes for 235 yards and three touchdowns. In two games, Staley completed 3 of 5 passes with a touchdown.MSU coach Dan Mullen has already said it will be an open quarterback competition heading into next year. Fitzgerald has the most experience among the freshmen. He arrived on campus early in 2013 and participated in bowl practices. He then experienced spring workouts in 2013. Staley has yet to be healthy during the spring. Last year, a knee injury limited his workouts.Damian Williams has the most game experience of any quarterback expected to return next year. The junior is the only signal caller on the roster that has started a game other than Prescott.Williams redshirted this season, but played in 12 games in his first two seasons on campus. He completed 37 of 70 passes for 434 yards and three touchdowns.True freshman Nick Tiano also redshirted this year. Prescott has said Tiano is far ahead of where he was as a true freshman. Cornerback The Bulldogs lose two senior corners in Taveze Calhoun and Will Redmond. Tolando Cleveland got a jumpstart on next year’s competition by starting nine games this season. Cedric Jiles tied a career high, playing in 11 games.The future is bright behind those who saw the field this year. Chris Stamps was rated as a four-star prospect by 247Sports out of Warren Central. Maurice Smitherman may be just as talented as a three-star recruit.Both redshirted this season, but will see a lot of time during the next three weeks with the first-team defense. Running back A solid running game is a quarterback’s best friend. Without Prescott, the Bulldogs will need one. MSU returns 11 of its top 12 players who carried the ball in 2015. The issue is that Prescott, who led the team with 541 yards rushing, won’t be back.Redshirt freshmen Dontavian Lee and Aeris Williams had success as bruising backs that complemented Brandon Holloway. Lee averaged 6.4 yards per carry, while Williams averaged 4.5 yards.Neither carried the ball more than 37 times this season. The coaching staff said the duo wasn’t ready in all aspects of the running and passing game to demand more carries. Williams and Lee enter their third years in the program in 2016. They should be ready to handle the responsibility that comes with a greater number of carries. Ashton Shumpert will be in his final year with the program in 2016. The former four-star prospect has rushed for 665 yards in his first three years.Contact Michael Bonner at [email protected] Follow @MikeBBonner on Twitter.
Canada’s Andre De Grasse and Jasmine Stowers have officially withdrawn from the Jamaica International Invitational at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday, May 7.Speaking at a press conference in Jamaica on Thursday, Meet Director Donald Quarrie said that injury was the reason for the pull outs. He explained that Stowers, who set a stadium record of 12.39 in the 100-metre hurdles at the invitational in 2015, fell during a race at the Drake Relays last weekend and needs to recover.“Stowers coach is not willing to allow her to take the risk of competing so soon afterwards.” said Quarrie.There will be no replacement for the the two competitors at the invitational because of how late the withdraw came from the athletes.Earlier this week, 2012 Olympic champion, Sanya Richards-Ross, announced she also was pulling out of the meet because of a recurring toe injury. Richards-Ross said she needed to take time and manage the injury to make sure that she would be fit in time to try and make the US team to the Rio Olympics this summer.Asafa Powell, former world-record holder over the 100meter, started his 2016 campaign in the 200meter with a 20.51 seconds run in Texas last month, but before that the Jamaican sprinter had not run a competitive 200 meter race since 2011. Powell will enter the race as a favorite in this years competition.IAAF 2007 triple world champion Tyson Gay of USA is among the leading contenders looking to get their Olympic Games preparation campaigns underway.The American will compete against fellow countryman Mike Rodgers and Jamaicans Kemar Bailey-Cole, Julian Forte and Oshane Bailey.Bailey-Cole, who trains at the same track club as world record holder Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake in Kingston, will return following the injury that interrupted his season last year.