Southern EU leaders warn Turkey over drilling bid off Cyprus

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — The leaders of southern European Union states say the EU should "consider appropriate action" against Turkey if it doesn't stop an "illegal" gas drilling bid in waters where Cyprus has exclusive economic rights.

Cyprus' president on Friday thanked the leaders of France, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain and Malta for their full support of the East Mediterranean island nation's sovereign rights and for condemning Turkey's actions.

A Turkish drill ship has been anchored 41 miles off Cyprus' western coast for weeks, but it's unclear if it started drilling. Turkey says it's defending its rights and those of breakaway Turkish Cypriots to the area's energy reserves.

Cyprus' government hasn't said so publicly but it has issued international arrest warrants against the ship's crew and officials from foreign companies assisting in the drilling.