The fact that yesterday the EU Foreign Affairs Council decided to adopt a framework regime of restrictive measures targeting natural and legal persons responsible for or involved in Turkey’s illegal drilling activity in the Eastern Mediterranean represents a step towards intensifying the measures against Turkey. It is a positive development, but far from being sufficient and matching the scale of Turkey’s aggression, illegal and provocative actions, as expressed in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Republic of Cyprus
As we are talking about restrictive measures inevitably, one cannot but compare whatever measures are approved today for the defence of Cyprus, with the extent and intensity of the measures that were taken by the EU against Russia with regards the crisis in Ukraine, which isn’t even an EU member state.
It is no secret that there were voices within the EU too calling for more drastic measures to be approved against Turkey itself – not only on Cyprus but also on Turkey’s invasion of Syria. However, they are at odds with the enormous economic and trade ties, worth billions, with Erdogan’s blackmails on the refugee issue, but also at odds with the clear NATO orders “not to break the unity of the North Atlantic Alliance.”
Undoubtedly, Cyprus mustn’t stop demanding effective and drastic measures against Turkey from the EU and the international community. At the same time, we stress that there mustn’t be any illusions about the limits of what can be achieved and a policy based on unrealistic expectations should not be pursued.
The solution of the problems related to Turkey’s illegal actions and provocative behavior towards Cyprus lies in the solution of the Cyprus problem.
Turkey must leave Cyprus and this can only be achieved through a solution to the Cyprus problem.
Despite the concerns and reflections generated by Turkey’s behavior, the solution to the Cyprus problem must continue to be at the centre of our policy. That is precisely the reason why we must remain focused on the goal of the resumption of the negotiations.