Greece and Cyprus rightly complain about Turkey’s drilling activities near their coastlines and the EU27 are increasingly concerned about the increasing escalations from Turkey, stated High Representative Vice President Josep Borrell, after the Foreign Affairs Council, held on Monday by videoconference, with the participation for one hour and a half of the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
According to EU sources, Borrell will travel to Cyprus ahead of this date to prepare the July 13 Foreign Affairs Council.
“Some member states raised also the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, where we are increasingly concerned about the increasing escalations from Turkey. We agreed on the need for de-escalation and to return to a true partnership. There are some incidents in the last days also about the Irini operation – we will talk about this tomorrow at the Defence Council,” Borrell noted.
Furthermore, invited to comment on Pompeo`s reaction on the calls to send a joint transatlantic message to Turkey for de-escalation and the future EU planning on the issue, HRVP Borrell stated the following: “Yes, the issue has been discussed, it was not one of the 3 blocks around our discussion. It has been mentioned, by me and some member states, the Secretary of State has been considering the situation in the Mediterranean, but mainly related to the situation in Libya. In any case the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean is becoming worse, Greece and Cyprus rightly complain about the fact that there are drillings very near to their coastlines. On the next Foreign Affairs Council we will put the issue of our relation with Turkey, taking into account all aspects of this complex relation.”
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 sixth 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.