President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis addressed the matter of the two countries’ relations with Turkey at the EU Foreign Affairs Council held in Brussels on Friday, with both demanding that additional sanctions are imposed against Turkey.
“Whenever Turkey violates international law and undermines the vital interests of the EU and its Members States, the Union should respond collectively and decisively in concrete terms,” Anastasiades posted on Twitter.
According to a written statement by government spokesman Kyriakos Koushios, interventions by Anastasiades and Mitsotakis regarding the escalating tension with Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean kicked off Friday’s EU Foreign Affairs summit.
The two referred to Turkey’s illegal activities and provocations in the region, and outlined the appropriate stance the EU should take in the face of these developments.
During his intervention, Anastasiades said that the EU’s “strategy of appeasement towards Turkey has been tried and has failed. We need to translate statements of solidarity into actions.”
The Cyprus President also stressed that as long as Turkey’s provocation continues “we cannot agree to initiatives that oppose or erode the unanimous decisions taken by the European Council.”
Anastasiades requested that the EU moves to impose additional sanctions against natural and legal persons involved in Turkey’s drilling designs in the Cyprus EEZ. He also requested the support of the European Council in view of the decision already taken by the Foreign Affairs Council, for the drafting of a bundle of additional measures to be imposed against Turkey.
Moreover, Anastasiades gave extensive details on Turkey’s activities in the eastern Mediterranean, stressing the concerning escalation of developments. He also referred to the Navtex issued by Turkey this week reserving a maritime area within the Cyprus EEZ for additional “illegal activities”.
Anastasiades also made references to Turkey’s threat to conduct exploratory activities in Greece’s continental shelf, as well as Turkey’s military involvement in Syria and Libya.
“Indicative of Turkey’s lack of respect toward EU values, as the President of the Republic pointed out, is also the recent example of the transformation of Hagia Sophia into a mosque,” the announcement by the Cyprus government spokesman added.
On his part, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called on European Union leaders on Friday to take a “clear” position and institute “tough sanctions” against Turkey in response to Ankara’s mounting aggression against Greece and Cyprus.
Referring to Turkish transgressions in the Eastern Mediterranean in a brief address to EU leaders, the Greek prime minister reportedly stressed that Turkey cannot be permitted to violate the sovereign rights of two member-states without meeting with a strong reaction.
He also asked that EU-Turkey relations be discussed at greater length at the next meeting of the European Council, the government source was quoted by the Athens-Macedonian News Agency as saying.
Following the interventions of the leaders of Greece and Cyprus, the Council unanimously adopted the suggestion of European Council President Charles Michel for the convening of a special summit in September to discuss the EU’s strategic relationship with Turkey in view of developments in the eastern Mediterranean.