Turkey criticizes EU position on disputes in eastern Mediterranean

Turkey criticizes EU position on disputes in eastern Mediterranean

Turkey criticizes EU position on disputes in eastern Mediterranean

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has criticized a joint statement by EU foreign ministers on the issue of disputes in the eastern Mediterranean and called on the EU to consider international law as well as the legitimate rights and interests of Turkey.

“The statement by Foreign Ministers of the European Union on the disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean constitutes the latest exhibition of a repetitive and a barren discourse that serves no purpose,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy said in a written statement on May 16.

This attitude remains indifferent to Turkey’s genuine initiatives, said the spokesperson, noting that it is a by-product of “unjust and unlawful claims of Greece and the Greek Cypriot Administration [GCA] and does not stand any chance of contributing to regional peace and stability.”

“It is noteworthy that the solidarity, which the European Union has failed to demonstrate in the fight against COVID-19, is now rendered unconditionally when it is the Greek Cypriots in question,” Aksoy said.

What the EU needs to do, instead of acting “blindly as the mouthpiece of Greece and the GCA under a pretext of solidarity,” is to proceed with common sense while taking international law into consideration as well as the legitimate rights and interests of Turkey and Turkish Cyprus, he stated.

“We reiterate, as usual, our readiness for dialogue on an equitable basis,” said the statement.

Last week, EU foreign ministers held a videoconference meeting and published a declaration that urged Turkey to “respect EU countries’ maritime jurisdiction and sovereignty in territorial waters.”

Following the latest decision by Turkey to dispatch a drilling ship on a new drilling operation within Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone, the EU recalled and reaffirmed 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, said the EU ministers.

“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 neighborly 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,” said the statement.

Meanwhile, the premier of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on May 16 slammed the EU declaration urging Turkey to "respect EU countries' maritime jurisdiction and sovereignty in territorial waters."

“It is a violation of law and lack of vision that the EU still adopts a pro-Greek Cyprus attitude and ignore the rights of Turkish Cypriot and Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean,” said Prime Minister Ersin Tatar.

He stressed that Turkish Cyprus and Turkey use their international rights to explore hydrocarbon in the Eastern Mediterranean, which is contrary to claims by the EU and Greek Cyprus.