European Commission warns Turkey over its aggression toward Cyprus
The European Commission has warned Turkey that negotiations for EU accession will remain blocked as a result of its hostility towards Cyprus, according to its progress report.
European Commission's annual accession report on Turkey's EU progress said that one chapter has been put on ice until Brussels ascertains that Turkey has fully applied the so-called additional Ankara Protocol and displayed good neighbourly relations without threats.
This binds Turkey to extend recognition to Cyprus and to allow Cypriot shipping to access Turkish ports and Cypriot planes to use its airspace as a precondition for further accession negotiations.
"As long as restrictions remain in place on vessels and aircraft registered in or related to Cyprus or whose last port of call was Cyprus, Turkey will not be in a position to fully implement the acquis relating to this chapter," said the report.
Turkey does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus despite it being a Member of the EU and it is the only country to recognise the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state.
The European Commission report urged Turkey to avoid violence or to make threats for the use of violence against an EU member state.
"in March and August Turkey made statements challenging the right of the Republic of Cyprus to exploit hydrocarbon resources in the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone for the benefit of all Cypriots," said the EU report.
"The EU has repeatedly stressed the sovereign rights of EU Member States, which include inter alia entering into bilateral agreements and exploring and exploiting their natural resources in accordance with the EU acquis and international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea."
Turkey deployed several navy ships off Cyprus in February to prevent an Italian ENI drillship from exploring for natural gas within a designated area in the island's exclusive economic zone.
Despite its refusal to accept EU terms for the continuation of its accession negotiations, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last month that his country remained committed to membership.