EU will react in case Turkey continues to pursue unilateral steps in Cyprus, EC source says

If Turkey continues with unilateral steps in Cyprus, in violation of the existing Security Council resolutions there will be a response, said a European Commission source in Brussels, adding that Nicosia probably has “no better ally than Brussels.”

The same source expressed the view that there are no “double standards” when it comes to the EU response vis-à-vis Cyprus and Ukraine – both being countries that are victims of aggression by a third country. EU foreign policy is formed on the basis of unanimity and any decision to adopt a stronger response towards Turkish President Erdogan should reflect the decision of the 27 member states, it was noted.

Referring to sanctions imposed on Turkish individuals and entities in relation to illegal drilling activities off the coast of Cyprus in the past, the Commission source said that sanctions are the result of consensus of the 27 and “the result of your ability to convince the others” about your arguments and to “build alliances.”

It comes down to your ability as a country, the ability of your experts and diplomats to convince others, to form alliances, because this how the EU is working, it was noted.

As for the EU High Representative Josep Borrell, the same source said that he was fully aware of the situation concerning Cyprus and that he is quite outspoken on Turkey and of the view that “we need to be tougher with Turkey.”

There are also other partners and institutions who believe that engagement with Turkey is more beneficial for everyone than a confrontation which would make things worse, it was noted.

More and more we will see the EU being a more assertive player, also vis-à-vis those countries that are not really respecting rules, are bullies with their neighbours and are violating international law, it was added. It takes consensus by the 27 to realize that the only way to deal with people like Putin or Erdogan is “very forcefully”, but at this stage we don’t have this consensus, it was highlighted.

The same source said it is not likely that Turkey will attack Greece, an EU and NATO ally, since this would be “the end of NATO.”

Speaking about the war in Ukraine, it was noted that Brussels will continue supporting Kiev “for as long as it gets” as this is a matter of principle and it is in the Union’s vital interest to make sure that Ukraine doesn’t fall.

If Ukraine falls that would destroy the rules-based world order, which provides protection especially for smaller states, like Cyprus, the source concluded.

Source: Cyprus News Agency