The issue of Turkey will be discussed in detail by the EU Foreign Ministers during the Foreign Affairs Council and the High Representative Josep Borrell will present ideas on how to de-escalate the situation and engage in dialogue with Turkey on many of the open issues with the Member States, an EU official, who is familiar with the issue, told the Press today in Brussels.
More specifically, the EU official who briefed the Press in Brussels by digital means, said that “the High Representative, after going to Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, flew over the EEZ on the EU border, will start an in-depth discussion and will put all the questions on the table of the Ministers ”.
He noted that he would “put Turkey`s actions in Libya, Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean for in-depth discussion”. “The idea is to present our report after the visit to the area and we will bring suggestions on how to unblock the situation.”
He clarified that the High Representative “will bring ideas to the Ministers on how to proceed with a dialogue with Turkey, always with the aim of de-escalation.”
Answering to a specific question, he said that “we will be satisfied if the Council reaches an agreement to give a political mandate to the High Representative to proceed with direct negotiations with Turkey to de-escalate the situation.”
“The purpose of the High Representative is to de-escalate” and “to end the illegal drilling”.
The EU official clarified that the High Representative would not raise the issue of sanctions, but “if a Minister wishes, he can do so”.
He clarified that the High Representative “has prepared some ideas that have to do with the EEZ and the illegal actions of Turkey”.
Asked about this, he said that “at the end of the day without a solution to the island`s (Cyprus) problem there is no real and permanent solution, but the start of negotiations for this is in the hands of the UN and the Secretary General, not in the hands of the EU.” He described some ideas as good, such as the distribution of gas revenues.
Answering another question, the EU official stressed that “it is clear that the question of whether revenue should be shared has always been part of the inter-community dialogue for many years”. He noted that “President Nicos Anastasiades put it to Mr. Akinci and vice versa, but so far there has been no agreement. ” ” We consider that sharing profits is the key to improving the situation, “he said.
“Greece, Turkey and the UK are guarantors, everyone has a legitimate interest,” he said, “but Turkey`s drilling activity is illegal.”
The official said Turkey`s relationship with the EU is worsening, from the freezing of accession funds to the cutting of funds and sanctions in November 2019.
“On Monday we want a consensus to talk to Turkey, to have an agreement on drilling and how to move forward,” he said. “We are committed to one goal, if they move the goalpost then this is not our responsibility,” he said, referring to Turkey`s current prospects.
Libya will also be discussed separately as an issue, after Turkey, with the aim of restarting Berlin`s peace process in the region. In this context, the role of Operation Irini in imposing the UN arms embargo will be discussed.
The Community official in charge of informing the press about the forthcoming Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) on Monday 13 July in Brussels with the physical presence of the Foreign Ministers, after four months, noted that the Council will start at 9:30 a.m. and end at around 14:00 local time. Turkey is the second issue to be discussed after reviewing the situation in Latin America and the Caribbean. The ministers will also consider the Hong Kong issue in relation to China`s latest decisions, and the High Representative will brief on developments in the Pristina-Belgrade dialogue.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Turkey has ignored numerous UN resolutions calling for the withdrawal of the Turkish troops and respect of the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus.
Turkish drill ship “Yavuz” arrived last April in the exclusive economic zone (ΕΕΖ) of Cyprus, after Ankara announced another attempt to drill a well in blocks licensed to European companies. This is the 6th time Turkey attempts to drill within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus, this time in an area that covers part of exploration blocks 6 and 7, which have been licensed to ENI and TOTAL.
In a statement on May 15, EU Foreign Ministers deplored the fact that Turkey has not yet responded to EU calls to cease such activities and reiterated their call on Ankara to show restraint, refrain from such actions, and respect the sovereignty and sovereign rights of Cyprus, in accordance with international law. EU Foreign Ministers also reaffirmed previous Council and European Council conclusions, notably those of June 2019 and October 2019 on Turkey’s continued illegal activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.