European Commission: Turkey must respect sovereignty of all EU members


Turkey “must avoid threats and actions that damage good neighborly relations, normalize 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,” the European Commission has said in its latest report on EU enlargement.

Published on Tuesday, the 2021 Enlargement Package provides a detailed assessment of the state of play and the progress made by the Western Balkans and Turkey on their respective paths towards the European Union.

The report underlined that Turkey must respect the rights of EU members to “explore and exploit natural resources, in accordance with EU and international law, in particular the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).”

“Accordingly, Turkey is expected to refrain from any drilling activities of hydrocarbons in the maritime zones of other states,” it stated.

The Commission report also noted that Turkey’s agreement with the National Accord Government of Libya of November 2019 “remains in place despite the fact that it ignored the sovereign rights of Greece in the area concerned, infringes upon the sovereign rights of third states, does not comply with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and cannot produce any legal consequences for third states.”

The report describes Turkey as “a key partner for the European Union in essential areas of joint interest, such as migration, counter-terrorism, economy, trade, energy and transport.”

Noting that dialogue and cooperation with Turkey increased in 2021, the report states that “the EU has a strategic interest in a stable and secure environment in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the development of a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship with Turkey.” [AMNA, Ekathimerini]