EU Foreign affairs ministers who met in Brussels on Monday endorsed a decision to curb diplomatic contacts and funding for Turkey. In response the Turkish MFA issued a statement signaling that the conclusions adopted by the EU Foreign Affairs Council ‘’will in no way affect Turkey's determination to continue its hydrocarbon activities in the Eastern Mediterranean’’.
The statement also said that it is not possible for Turkey to start talks to delimit maritime jurisdiction areas before the settlement of the Cyprus issue as it does not recognize Cyprus, indicating that Turkey’s primary concern is the protection of its continental shelf.
Cyprus has pressed for a tough line and harsher sanctions but several countries have warned against antagonizing a key ally
The geography of Cyprus and the Greek islands under UNCLOS leaves Turkey with limited marine area while the status quo of divided Cyprus is viewed as a leverage to gain a foothold in the resource rich Eastern Mediterranean .
In June, EU leaders warned Turkey to end drilling in waters around the island or face action from the bloc.
Cyprus has pressed for a tough line and harsher sanctions but several countries have warned against antagonizing a key ally on security and migration affairs.
“The provocations of Turkey are unacceptable to all of us,” German Minister of State for Europe Michel Roth said on Monday. “We have now found a balanced language that keeps all our options open, including of course sanctions.”
“I can only hope that we do not now add another crisis to the many conflicts and crises. Turkey knows what’s at stake and the European Union is united on the side of Cyprus.”
Meanwhile Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that until Greek Cypriots adopt a number of proposals set out by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to jointly manage and benefit from the islands energy affairs, Turkey would continue its drilling “with determination and without change”.
President Anastasiades has called an urgent meeting of the national council with commentators predicting that Cyprus is set to reject the Turkish proposal.