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President: ‘Our effort is to prevent Turkey’s unchecked demand to impose its own international law’

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has said that the government’s effort is to prevent Turkey’s unchecked demand to impose its own international law, that is to say its expansive policy.

President Anastasiades had been asked by journalists at the Presidential Palace to comment on Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s statements following a meeting with head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell, he said that “what you have correctly noted is the audacity. What is left is for Europe to think what its tolerance may encourage.”

“Unfortunately, we are referring to a country who is a troublemaker, who seeks to place the entire Eastern Mediterranean and all the countries with coastlines on it under her control,” he noted.

It is, President Anastasiades said, “inconceivable and unacceptable not just on the basis of international law but also on the basis of the long-term practice of friendly relations, of the friendship which should exist between neighbouring countries.”

Asked what the positions of Cyprus will be at the coming EU Foreign Affairs Council and the European Council, he replied that “I think that until now you have witnessed the multiple efforts underway in coordination not just with Greece and with France but with our other partners,” adding that the effort is to prevent Turkey’s unchecked pursuit to impose its own international law, that is to say its expansive policy through its actions.”

Replying to a question as to what Borrell meant when he announced the beginning of an EU – Turkey dialogue, President Anastasiades said that “we will be informed in detail when he is outside Turkish territory.”

“One first briefing was made to Foreign Affairs Minister, but we will have the opportunity later to be informed on the details,” he added.

“What I have done here is to ensure that negotiations begin,” Borrell said addressing a joint press conference following a meeting with Cavusoglu yesterday in Ankara. He added that there could be negotiations between Turkey and the EU or between Turkey and EU member states with the participation of the EU and the UN.

“If the EU takes additional decisions against Turkey, we will have to respond to this,” Cavusoglu said on his part..

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.

(CNA)

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