Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSenate confirms Thomas-Greenfield as UN ambassador The Memo: Biden bets big on immigration Biden pushes expanded pathways to citizenship as immigration bill lands in Congress MORE (D-N.J.) demanded that Turkey immediately withdraw from Cyprus’s economic zone.

Menendez said Turkey is using warships to explore the shores of Cyprus for natural gas drilling, but the country has no legitimate claims to the land and water surrounding the island.


“I have grave concern over Turkey’s invasion of [Cyprus’s] exclusive economic zone,” Menendez said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “Because of Turkey’s bullying practices peace talks are on hold.”

Cyprus has been in talks with Greece and Turkey over its independence.

Menendez called for a “forceful response” from the Obama administration against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s actions. He pointed out that Erdogan has recently made anti-West remarks.

“ ‘Americans look like friends but they want us dead. They like seeing our children die,’ this was the president of Turkey,” Menendez said. “He also said women are not equal to men.”

President Obama is desperately seeking allies in the Middle East as it aims to create a joint military force against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to help the United States in that effort.