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Turkey looms large as Anastasiades meets European Council president

President Anastasiades with European Council president Charles Michel on Wednesday

The Cyprus problem, Turkey’s violations in the EZZ, Varosha and migration were discussed at the first official meeting between President Nicos Anastasiades and European Council president Charles Michel.

“There was a special discussion on the issue of Varosha and that the EU should not expect flexibility from Cyprus on matters concerning Turkey,” government spokesman Kyriacos Kousios told reporters on Wednesday.

Particular points were made on Turkey’s accession path and its relationship with the EU.

“The president thanked Michel for the sanctions imposed on Turkey and noted that we expect even more sanctions to be added,” Kousios said.

Michel reportedly asked Anastasiades whether greater EU involvement concerning Turkey’s actions would be welcomed and the proposal was warmly received.

The Cyprus News Agency reported that Michel also told Anastasiades that he would contact the UN secretary-general as soon as possible to discuss how the EU could assist in efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem.

The Republic also stressed that EU presence and involvement in the Eastern Mediterranean is an EU matter since its members are affected.

The meeting between the two men come at a time of flaring tensions in the region with major geopolitical shifts taking place.

Libya and Turkey have made moves to rearrange maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean, while Ankara is also increasingly involved in the Syrian conflict – pitting itself against Russia and the Syrian government.

In September Erdogan threatened to “open the gates” for migrants to Europe if his plan to resettle one million Syrian refugees in northern Syria was not accepted.

While the focus of the discussion was on Turkey’s role in the region, other key issues were discussed – such as the cohesion fund, Cyprus’ challenges as a distant island state and fewer benefits from the common market as a result.

 



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