EU executive sends strong message to Ankara, says nothing justifies intimidation


“Turkey is and will always be an important neighbor. But while we are close together on the map, the distance between us appears to be growing,” European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen told European Parliament on Wednesday, warning Ankara against continued provocations against Greece and Cyprus.

“Yes, Turkey is in a troubled neighborhood. And yes, it is hosting millions of refugees, for which we support them with considerable funding. But none of this is justification for attempts to intimidate its neighbors,” Von der Leyen said in her annual speech on the health of the Union.

Greece and Cyprus can count on Europe’s “full solidarity on protecting their legitimate sovereignty rights,” she added in a speech that comes days ahead of a European Council summit on Turkey and the EU’s response to recent developments in the Eastern Mediterranean. [Combined reports]