Turkey’s stance vis-à-vis international law cannot be “à la carte”, Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides told the Cyprus News Agency, inviting Ankara to accept its positions to be judged by an international judicial mechanism if it feels so sure about the compatibility of its actions with the international law.
Invited to comment on a statement issued by the spokesperson of the Turkish Foreign Ministry about the Statement of the EU Foreign Ministers on the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean issued on Friday, Christodoulides also said that the Statement of the EU Foreign Ministers is clear on the fact that refraining from unilateral actions is a precondition for the continuation of the dialogue of the EU with Turkey.
“The statement issued by the Turkish Foreign Ministry proves and confirms, among others, the long-standing position of Ankara which disregards the calls by the international community, and particularly by the EU, about its broader behaviour and more specifically for the termination of its illegal activities in the Eastern Mediterranean,” Christodoulides noted.
He went on to say that if Turkey really wants dialogue, as it claims in its Foreign Ministry’s statement, it has nothing else to do but to “accept the proposal of the Republic of Cyprus to launch negotiations in good faith, with a view to delimitate our maritime zones to the west and north of Cyprus, as provided by the international law.”
Moreover, he noted that “our position has been repeatedly welcomed by the EU itself,” and referred to the most recent joint Statement by the EU Foreign Ministers.
Christodoulides also noted that Turkey constantly refers to the international law in an effort to justify its illegal actions, particularly as regards its activities in the Cypriot EEZ/continental shelf and invited Ankara to accept its positions to be judged by an international judicial mechanism, if it feels so sure about the compatibility of its actions with the international law.
The Foreign Minister also said that as regards the EU-Turkey relations in general, the EU Foreign Ministers Statement reiterates the EU’s well known position that Ankara’s illegal actions affect in a negative way these relations, “which everyone wants to see being improved.”
The EU Foreign Ministers Statement is also clear as regards the fact that abstaining from unilateral actions is a precondition for the continuation of the dialogue of the EU with Turkey, the Foreign Minister concluded.
The EU Foreign Ministers said, among others, in their Statement that “following the latest decision by Turkey to dispatch a drilling ship on a new drilling operation within Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone the EU recalls and reaffirms its position as clearly defined by previous relevant Council and European Council conclusions, notably those of June 2019 and October 2019 on Turkey’s continued illegal activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.”
They noted that “in line with previous Council Conclusions, the EU stands in full solidarity with Cyprus and reiterates that concrete steps towards creating an environment conducive to dialogue are needed. Issues related to delimitation of exclusive economic zones and the continental shelf should be addressed through dialogue and negotiation in good faith, in full respect of international law and in pursuit of the principle of good neighbourly relations.”
“In this respect, we welcome once again the invitation by the Government of Cyprus to Turkey to negotiate in good faith the maritime delimitation between their relevant coasts. The most recent escalating actions by Turkey regrettably go in the opposite direction. We deplore that Turkey has not yet responded to the European Union`s repeated calls to cease such activities and reiterate our call on Turkey to show restraint, refrain from such actions, and respect the sovereignty and sovereign rights of Cyprus, in accordance with international law,” they added
Commenting on the Statement, the spokesperson of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs alleged that it “constitutes the latest exhibition of a repetitive and a barren discourse that serves no purpose.”