EU Slams Turkey’s ‘Illegal Actions’ in the Aegean

EU leaders meeting in Brussels on Thursday have condemned Turkey for its “continued illegal actions” in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea and have underlined their solidarity with Cyprus and Greece.

They have also expressed “grave concern” about the continued detention of the two Greek soldiers.

Earlier, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades briefed their EU counterparts on Turkey’s provocative stance in the Aegean and Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone.

The European Union must be very clear with Turkey in terms of respecting international laws, Tsipras said on his arrival at the EU Council meeting.

“I think that we have to be very skeptical about the developments in the region. But I think that we have to be very straight to the Turkish side about their obligations, especially their obligation to respect international law, but at the same time to keep open the doors of dialogue,” Tsipras said in response to a question.

Here is the EU Council Statement on Turkey:

Actions by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea

The European Council strongly condemns Turkey’s continued illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea and underlines its full solidarity with Cyprus and Greece.

Recalling its conclusions of October 2014 and the Declaration of 21 September 2005, the European Council urgently calls on Turkey to cease these actions and respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources in accordance with EU and International Law.

In this context, it recalls Turkey’s obligation to respect International Law and good neighbourly relations, and normalize relations with all EU Member States including the Republic of Cyprus.

The European Council expressed its grave concern over the continued detention of EU citizens in Turkey, including two Greek soldiers, and calls for the swift and positive resolution of these issues in a dialogue with Member States.

The European Council will remain seized of these matters.

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