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15 August, 2020
 
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Only through dialogue can the Mediterranean regain stability, Borrell says

The EU foreign affairs chief told the European Parliament session on Turkey that the country has shown 'worrying assertiveness' in the Eastern Mediterranean

Newsroom / CNA

The Mediterranean can be a more secure and stable zone only through dialogue, the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said at the European Parliament’s plenary session on Turkey in Brussels.

Borrell noted that Turkey’s “problematic role in the region” is something he discussed with his Turkish counterparts earlier this week.

Borrell made it clear that "we are determined to protect the principles and values, the external borders and the sovereign rights of Member States" and pointed to the Council of Foreign Ministers that will consider this matter on Monday 13 July.

More specifically he stated that "I have just returned from intensive discussions in Turkey and Malta. The previous week, I visited Greece and Cyprus to demonstrate EU’s unwavering solidarity".

"And it is clear, stability and security in the Mediterranean requires our collective engagement. Years of conflicts in Libya and Syria impact broader regional security, and directly affect Europe in terms of risks of terrorism, organised crime, uncontrolled migration flows and further spread of instability,” Borell told the Plenary.

"Turkey is affected by this situation as well, and is active in conflicts both in Syria and in Libya", Borrell stated and said that "it is one of the most important actors in this".

"We have had important discrepancies regarding Turkey’s action in North-West and North-East Syria. Last October, the Council firmly condemned Turkey’s military operation in North-East Syria. Yet we must also acknowledge where our interests coincide", he noted.

"Turkey has shown solidarity and generosity towards now 3.6 million Syrian refugees and has supplied cross-border humanitarian assistance to those displaced by the recent brutal fighting in Idlib", Borrell noted, regretting that the UN Security Council did not open the border on the spot to allow humanitarian aid.

“We are committed to implementing the UN arms embargo and, with Operation Irini, we will continue to monitor closely suspect trafficking, regardless of provenance or destination", HRVP Borrell noted.

"In the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey has been showing a worrying assertiveness – with an increased number of flights over Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, drilling operations in Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone and its signature in the maritime Memorandum of Understanding with Libya - which we do not recognize here in the EU", he stressed.

"We will also continue to work towards genuine political solutions in Syria and Libya. Turkey is an important partner, a candidate country and a NATO ally", Borrell noted.

"The current negative trend in our relations needs to be stopped and reversed. Dynamics of retaliation do not make the Mediterranean a more secure and stable zone. This will only be achieved through dialogue and negotiations where discrepancies exist. This is what I have been discussing with Turkish colleagues on my last trip. We have many common interests on which to build.”

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European Parliament  |  Turkey  |  Cyprus  |  Greece  |  Eastern Mediterranean  |  Josep Borrell  |  politics  |  Aegean  |  EEZ  |  drilling  |  energy  |  Libya

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