Michel Barnier, the European Union’s chief negotiator for Brexit, reiterated on Monday EU readiness to respond accordingly in case Turkey carries out illegal hydrocarbon drilling activities, noting that the EU stands clearly behind Cyprus.
Barnier, who is currently visiting Cyprus in the context of a tour to European capitals to discuss the situation concerning Brexit, met with Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs Nicos Christodoulides, who briefed him on Turkey’s recent illegal operations within Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
“The EU stands clearly behind Cyprus and expects Turkey to respect the sovereign rights of the EU member-states,” Barnier said, echoing remarks by European Council President Donald Tusk after the EU Summit in Sibiu, Romania.
Barnier also said “we express grave concern over Turkey’s announced intention to carry out drilling activities within the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus.
“In this context we urgently call on Turkey to show restraint, respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus in its EEZ and refrain from any such illegal action to which the EU will respond appropriately and in full solidarity with Cyprus,” he added.
Christodoulides said Turkey’s escalated illegal activities in Cyprus’ EEZ are in violation of Nicosia’s sovereign rights and contrary to international and EU law.
“Turkey’s actions, which are destabilizing the Eastern Mediterranean region, have drawn broad condemnation from the international community,” Christodoulides said, stressing that Barnier “is well aware of the discussions we have been having with our partners in Brussels, who promptly expressed their support and solidarity with the Republic of Cyprus on the need for the EU to react collectively and decisively to this flagrant violation of a member state’s sovereign rights.” [Kathimerini Cyprus]