Avramopoulos says EU send clear message, but has not yet consider measures against Turkey’s illegal drilling

EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said Thursday that Europe has sent clear messages, but has not yet come to consider measures in connection with Turkeys illegal drilling in the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Replying to journalists questions at a joint press conference with Democratic Rally President Averof Neofytou, Avramopoulos expressed the hope that any measures would be avoided and that prudence and logic would prevail.

“Europe has sent clear messages, but we have not yet reached the point of looking at measures I want to believe that measures will be avoided and that prudence, logic and the spirit of the time will prevail,” he said.

He stressed that the key to Turkeys European perspective was to resolve the Cyprus problem in general and to settle the issues that have arisen.

He explained that Europes relations with Turkey were very much defined by how things were evolving in Cyprus, adding that the position of Europe as it was expressed by the President of the Commission and all the institutions, including the European Parliament, was clear. He added that the issue should be addressed through, multilateral diplomacy guided by the international and the EU law.

He added that Turkey aspires to join the European family and the door was not closed. He stressed however that Turkey holds the key and it has to prove in practice how it understands relations, with the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member-state.

Avramopoulos added that he was well aware that all the policies developed by the Republic of Cyprus were aimed at serving the interests of all citizens of the island, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots as well.

Referring to his portfolio that includes migration, internal security, fight against organized crime and citizenship, he said that Cyprus along with other member-states as Greece and Italy were at the forefront, receiving a lot of pressure. He added however that Cyprus was not alone.

“I have said it too many times and I have assured the leadership of Cyprus that Europe will be on its side,” he said.

This is a strong message to every direction, because the guarantee for the future of the island, for the prosperity of Cypruss security and independence, is now Europe, he said.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

Turkey issued a navigational telex, announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus until September 3. The Turkish drill ship Fatih, accompanied by three service ships, has entered an area that falls within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus.

Source: Cyprus News Agency