GAC invites the EC and the EEAS to submit options for appropriate measures against Turkey without delay

The General Affairs Council, convening today in Luxemburg, adopted enlargement conclusions on Turkey, whereby invites the European Commission (EC) and the European External Action Service (EEAS) to submit “options for appropriate measures” against Turkey “without delay”, due to the candidates country refusal to conform with international law and EU calls for restrain with regard to its illegal drilling.

More specifically, “the Council notes that Turkey continues to move further away from the European Union” and “recalling its conclusions of 26 June 2018, the Council notes that Turkeys accession negotiations have therefore effectively come to a standstill and no further chapters can be considered for opening or closing and no further work towards the modernisation of the EU- Turkey Customs Union is foreseen”.

The Council continues to expect Turkey to “unequivocally commit to good neighbourly relations, international agreements and to the peaceful settlement of disputes, having recourse, if necessary, to the International Court of Justice”.

The Council “recalls and reaffirms previous Council and European Council conclusions, including the European Council conclusions of 22 March 2018 strongly condemning Turkeys continued illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea” and furthermore expresses “serious concerns over Turkeys current illegal drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean” and “deplores that Turkey has not yet responded to the European Unions repeated calls to cease such activities.”

The Council underlines the serious immediate negative impact that such illegal actions have across the range of EU-Turkey relations” and “calls on Turkey to show restraint, respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus, and refrain from any such actions.

“The EU will closely monitor developments and stands ready to respond appropriately and in full solidarity with Cyprus”, according to the conclusions adopted.

The Council invites the Commission and the European External Action Service “to submit options for appropriate measures without delay”.

“In addition, the Council, as stated in its conclusions of 11 December 2006 and of 26 June 2018, subsequently endorsed by the European Council, as well as in the Declaration of 21 September 2005, calls on Turkey to fulfil its obligations under the Negotiating Framework, including the full, non-discriminatory implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Association Agreement towards all Member States. The Council reiterates that recognition of all Member States is essential.”

The EU 28 stress that “Turkey must avoid threats and actions that damage good neighbourly relations, normalise its relations with the Republic of Cyprus and respect the sovereignty of all EU Member States over their territorial sea and airspace as well as all their sovereign rights, including inter alia the right to explore and exploit natural resources, in accordance with EU and international law, including UNCLOS.”

“The EU remains fully committed to a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.”

In this regard, the Council recalls that it remains crucial that Turkey “commits and contributes to such a settlement, including its external aspects, within the UN framework in accordance with relevant UNSC resolutions and in line with the principles on which the EU is founded and the acquis.”

Source: Cyprus News Agency