President Nicos Anastasiades on Friday called on his EU counterparts to turn their statements of solidarity into action, arguing that appeasing Turkey as regards its provocative behaviour in the eastern Mediterranean had failed.
According to government spokesman Kyriakos Kousios, Anastasiades, and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, were the first to make interventions during Friday’s European Council meeting in Brussels.
Both of them referred to Turkey’s illegal actions and threats, as well as the stance the EU ought to have.
“Appeasing Turkey has been tried and failed,” Anastasiades told his EU counterparts according to Kousios. He called on the EU leaders to convert their statements of solidarity into action.
He stressed that as long as the Turkish provocations continue, it was not possible to agree to initiatives that oppose or erode the unanimous decisions taken by the European Council.
Anastasiadis called for the extension of EU sanctions against natural and legal persons involved in Turkey’s illegal drilling programme in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ). He also called on the European Council to support the decision already taken by the EU foreign ministers earlier this week to prepare a package of further measures to be imposed on Turkey.
Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides said on Tuesday the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) on Monday asked the European External Action Service (EEAS) to prepare an options paper, which is a document with choices on sanctions in various sectors such as in economy, energy, tourism, and other areas.
Kousios said Anastasiades briefed the council in detail about Turkey’s illegal actions in the eastern Mediterranean, noting that the developments were worrying. He also referred to the new Navtex issued by Ankara extending its illegal activities within the Cypriot EEZ and to Turkish threats to carry out exploratory drilling within the Greek continental shelf, as well as Turkey’s military involvement in Syria and Libya.
To make a point about Turkey’s lack of respect for the principles advocated by the EU, Anastasiades referred to the recent example of the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque, Kousios said.
Following the interventions by Anastasiades and Mitsotakis, the European Council unanimously accepted a proposal by its President, Charles Michel, to hold a special session in September to discuss the strategic relationship between the EU and Turkey in light of its actions in the eastern Mediterranean.
Anastasiades, on the sidelines of the leaders’ summit, is to hold a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.