The 27 EU foreign ministers called on Monday for a reversal of the opening of Varosha, the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said, after chairing a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council earlier in Luxembourg.
In connection with the opening of Varosha and the most recent Turkish navigational telex (Navtex), Borrell said that the 27 listened to the concerns of the Greek and Cypriot foreign ministers and shared a discussion on the matter.
Turkey is once again sending research vessel Oruc Reis to explore for gas south of Greek island Kastellorizo, days after Ankara announced a new NAVTEX for its Barbaros ship in waters off Cyprus.
He said “the opening of Varosha undermines mutual trust", noting that EU ministers believe that "it increases tensions and must be reversed".
Borrell stressed that after the end of the second round of elections in the Turkish Cypriot community, "negotiations must begin as soon as possible", stressing the EU's readiness to support the UN negotiations.
Further, in relation to Turkey’s Navtex, Borrell said it violates the maritime zones of Greece and Cyprus, noting that EU foreign ministers view the move as one that "will lead to an increase in tensions and not to de-escalation.”
Borrell pointed out that the European Council has taken a position on Turkey, and will return to the issue again this week. He recalled that the European Council had announced that it would consider during their meeting in December whether and to what extent de-escalation is being achieved, in order to take appropriate decisions on the way forward.
An ongoing attempt to seek a diplomatic way forward between Greece and Turkey has been ongoing at the European level as well as NATO, but observers say the effort remains fragile.