EUROPE: Brussels urges Turkey to normalise relations with Cyprus

Turkey must refrain from illegal actions in Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone and normalise relations with Nicosia, said key findings in the EU report on Turkey’s accession progress.

The European Commission said it does not envisage opening new negotiating chapters or modernizing the Custom’s Union, calling on Turkey to fulfil its obligations to normalise relations with the Republic of Cyprus.

Brussels warned that “the EU has repeatedly stressed the sovereign rights of EU member states, which include entering into bilateral agreements and exploring and exploiting their natural resources in accordance with the EU acquis and international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea”.

“Turkey has still not fulfilled its obligation to ensure full and non-discriminatory implementation of the Additional Protocol to the EU-Turkey Association Agreement and has not removed all the obstacles to the free movement of goods, including restrictions on direct transport links with Cyprus,” said the report.

It added: “There were repeated and increased violations of the territorial waters and airspaces of Greece and Cyprus by Turkey.”

“In this context, the EU has expressed once again serious concern and urged Turkey to avoid any kind of threat or action directed against a Member State, or any source of friction or actions that would damage good neighbourly relations and the peaceful settlement of disputes.

The Commission said: “Turkey’s actions and statements continued to challenge the right of the Republic of Cyprus to exploit hydrocarbon resources in the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone.

Earlier this month, Turkey sent a drilling platform accompanied by military vessels into Cyprus’ EEZ, escalating tensions further.

In March, the EU called on Turkey to refrain from any such illegal acts, to which it would respond appropriately and in full solidarity with Cyprus.

In March 2018, the European Council strongly condemned Turkeys continued illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea and recalled Turkey’s obligation to respect international law and good neighbourly relations and to normalise relations with all EU Member States.”

Source: The Financial Mirror