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12° Nicosia,
18 June, 2024
 
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Borrell doubles down on Turkey criticism

EU top diplomat calls on Ankara to end activities off Cyprus and choose dialogue instead

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EU High Representative on Foreign Policy Josep Borrell scorned Turkey over the weekend, calling on Ankara to end drilling activities off the island of Cyprus and engage in a broad dialogue with the European Union.

(Click here for an update to the story)

The EU’s top fiplomat issued a statement on Sunday, following rival NAVTEX messages between Ankara and Nicosia over the weekend. The Republic of Cyprus had issued a warning to mariners on Friday after Turkey had renewed its own NAVTEX for extending the activity period for Turkish drilling ship Yavuz through September 15.

Borrell said the announcement by Turkey of renewed drilling activities by Yavuz “in a maritime zone which has been delineated by Cyprus and Egypt regrettably fuels further tensions and insecurity in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

'This action runs counter and undermines efforts to resume dialogue and negotiations, and to pursue immediate de-escalation, which is the only path towards stability and lasting solutions'

“This action runs counter and undermines efforts to resume dialogue and negotiations, and to pursue immediate de-escalation, which is the only path towards stability and lasting solutions, as reiterated by EU Foreign Ministers last Friday,” Borrell said.

The EU official called on the Turkish government to end its activities immediately and engage fully and in good faith in a broad dialogue with the bloc.

Ankara has maintained that the Republics of Greece and Cyprus had taken “unilateral measures” and forged alliances in the region that excluded Turkey.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reportedly sent an explanation letter to Borrell ahead of a meeting of EU ministers, where he outlined Turkey's position on developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.

After a Friday meeting, the EU ministers stressed that the serious deterioration in the relationship with Turkey was having far-reaching strategic consequences for the entire EU, well beyond the Eastern Mediterranean, according to a Brussels press release.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias also implied that a list of sanctions against Ankara, being drawn up by the FAC, would be the focus of informal discussions in Berlin in late August.

In response, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Turkey would not back down to threats of sanctions or incursions in maritime territory in the Mediterranean Sea, where Ankara is in a standoff with Athens over disputed oil and gas exploration rights.

Erdogan argues that Turkey resumed activities in the eastern Mediterranean after Greece signed a partial maritime deal with Egypt just before the start of German-brokered contacts between the two NATO-member rivals.

TAGS
Cyprus  |  EU  |  Turkey  |  Greece  |  Borrell  |  Erdogan  |  Cavusoglu  |  maritime  |  Nicosia  |  Ankara  |  Brussels  |  Cairo  |  Athens  |  disputed waters  |  EEZ  |  natural gas

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