“Cyprus is asking for an escalation of EU action against Turkey’s provocativeness,” President Nicos Anastasiades stated in an interview with the Greek television network Open.
Anastasiades noted that the European Union cannot stand by while Turkey continues exhibiting aggressive behaviour across the region, adding that if the EU takes on a more leading role, its role in international affairs will become more credible.
“I told Mr Borrell that instead of you [the EU] being subject to blackmail by Erdogan, you should react by bolstering Greek and Cypriot borders, which are also European,” Anastasiades said, referring to the visit of the EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, to Cyprus last week.
“We are demanding the same thing now and I hope that in the European Council we will have more tangible results,” he added.
Anastasiades characterized the stance of French President Emmanuel Macron as “an important ray of hope”, but said German interests are the main roadblock as regards a unanimous EU stance against Turkey.
“I am aware that one submarine and six more are being built by Turkey with German assistance. Has Germany ever pondered on what it is breeding? Are the financial interests enough to justify disregarding consequences that may damage an important number of European countries?” Anastasiades said.
Asked to comment on Turkey's aggressive behaviour across the region, Anastasiades said Ankara should be aware that it cannot act against international law and reminded that the Republic of Cyprus has repeatedly invited Turkey to resolve their differences at an international court.
“If they [Turkey] believe they are right, why don’t we take it up before an international court, so that international law can be enforced?” he went on.
Anastasiades stressed that the Turkish President has crossed every behavioural boundary, even though the country is supposedly a candidate for EU membership.
The Cyprus President also refuted that Turkey’s actions serve to protect the rights of Turkish Cypriots, as Turkey itself claims.
Expanding on statements he made recently regarding the need to avoid military means in resolving Cyprus’ differences with Turkey, Anastasiades repeated that all other options, barring military action, such as international law, regional synergies, the EU, and the UN, are much more effective.
Anastasiades finally said that the Republic of Cyprus will be ready whenever Greece decides to delineate their maritime zones, but noted that Nicosia fully acknowledges that Athens currently has other priorities.