Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, on Tuesday urged Turkey to respect the sovereignty of Greece and Cyprus.
Asked about Turkish plans to begin hydrocarbon exploration near Greek islands, Borrell said said the EU was monitoring developments while being “in close contact” with Athens and Nicosia.
“We are in close contact with our colleagues, the foreign ministers of Greece and also Cyprus, in order to follow the situation of the drillings, and we are calling Turkey to stop drilling in the areas where there is the EEZ (exclusive economic zone) or territorial waters of Cyprus and Greece,” said Borrell adding that the Foreign Affairs Council “already delivered a strong message addressed to Turkey.”
Borrell said that Turkey’s violations were an issue of “utmost importance” with regards to Ankara’s EU membership talks.
“Some member states even consider that as far as the drilling continues talks should not be continuing. But I think the only way of solving this kind of issue is to reach out, closer to see what we can do in order to make Turkey understand that our good relations will depend critically on the respect of the sovereignty of Cyprus and Greece on the waters under dispute,” he said.