Turkey says EU succumbed to pressure from Cyprus

Turkey says EU succumbed to pressure from Cyprus

Turkey’s relations with the European Union appeared to take a turn for the worse on Tuesday, as Ankara condemned the Commission’s accession report, which referenced Turkish violations towards Cyprus and Greece.

 

Turkey’s relations with the European Union appeared to take a turn for the worse on Tuesday, as Ankara condemned the Commission’s accession report, which referenced Turkish violations towards Cyprus and Greece.

The EU and Ankara seemed to have been heading in a better direction after the EU Council summit last week, where a decision was made to re-examine sanctions on Turkey in December.

Sanctions were heavily pushed for by Cyprus and Greece, which had experienced violations in the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) by Turkey over the past few months.

But, on Tuesday Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the outcome of last week’s EU summit was not sufficient to overcome the problems in Turkey-EU ties.

Erdogan stated “that the EU had succumbed to pressure and blackmail from Greek Cypriots and Greece despite Turkey’s good faith”, the Turkish presidency said.

He accused the EU of stalling Turkey’s membership bid for years and said the same had occurred during last week’s summit.

“We know this will disturb a lot of places but some people have to know that it was the Turkish Cypriots who were patient until today,” he told a news conference.

Turkey began negotiations in 2005 to join the EU but they have long been stalled amid disagreements over human rights, Cyprus and other issues.

The Commission’s report said: “Tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean region further increased in the reporting period as a result of Turkey’s illegal actions and provocative statements challenging the right of the Republic of Cyprus to exploit hydrocarbon resources in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Republic of Cyprus.”

The report added two drilling ships and two seismic vessels were deployed in the island’s EEZ, including areas licenced by Cyprus to European oil and gas companies.

“The Turkish Armed Forces accompanied the drilling and seismic ships during their operations, posing a grave threat to the security of the region. Turkey also challenged the status of the fenced-off city of Varosha,” the report said.

The European Commission accused Erdogan’s government on Tuesday of undermining Turkey’s economy, eroding its democracy and destroying independent courts, and said this record left Ankara further away than ever from EU membership.

“Turkey needs to commit itself unequivocally to good neighbourly relations, international agreements and the peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with the United Nations Charter, having recourse, if necessary, to the International Court of Justice,” the report said.

The EU also condemned Turkey’s unilateral intervention in Syria and violations in Greece’s EEZ and borders, where a migrant camp was set up by Ankara.

 

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