Cyprus will seek to save Europe’s dignity and trustworthiness at the European Council meeting starting Thursday to discuss sanctions against Turkey for violations in the Eastern Mediterranean, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the opening of a park, Anastasiades said: “We will seek to rescue the trustworthiness and dignity of both Europe and the European citizens of Cyprus during the upcoming European Council meeting.”
The EU Council will meet on Thursday to discuss Turkey’s actions in the Eastern Mediterranean, where Ankara and Athens almost came to a head in the summer, after Turkey sent ships to drill in areas part of Greece’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Turkey has been drilling in part of Cyprus’ EEZ throughout the year, causing Nicosia along with Athens to call for sanctions against Ankara.
However, issues between Turkey and Greece are seemingly cooling down, as both countries have agreed to talks in an effort to give way to diplomacy to solve their problems.
Recently, Cyprus has been accused in EU circles of holding sanctions on Belarus ‘hostage’ over the bloc’s failure to place sanctions on Turkey.
Commenting on the matter on Tuesday and whether Cyprus will use the sanctions on Turkey as a bargaining chip for sanctions on Belarus, Anastasiades said: “Sanctions are not an end in themselves. The aim is to finally realise the prevalence of what Turkey’s obligations as a candidate country are in line with EU principles and values.”
On whether he is aware of EU plans to issue sanctions on Turkey at a later date if Ankara fails to comply, Anastasiades said he was not informed of any such plans.