FM slams Turkish tactics at EU meet

Turkey’s continuing violations of Greek air space and disputing of Aegean sea borders were broached by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis yesterday before the European Union’s General Affairs and External Relations Council in Brussels. Accusing Ankara of implementing a «provocative policy of dispute» in the Aegean over the past few weeks, Bakoyannis told her European Union counterparts that this behavior by EU candidate state Turkey toward an existing member state should be borne in mind ahead of a scheduled progress report from Brussels in December. «As firm as our support for Turkey’s full accession to the EU is, so too is our conviction that the principles of international law and good-neighborly relations must be respected,» Bakoyannis said. The minister also referred to the decision by Turkish authorities to prospect for oil off the coast of Cyprus. Talking to reporters after her speech in Brussels, the minister said that her goal had been «a full and clear briefing at the highest possible level with the aim of shaping a common approach.» In an interview with Sunday’s Eleftherotypia, Bakoyannis was more outspoken, noting that Ankara was obliged to respect EU regulations and standards and remarking that «Europe is no place for bullies.» At the EU summit, which continues today, Bakoyannis also had a brief meeting with her Swedish counterpart Carl Bildt, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, though there were no reports about the content of the talks. Athens last week reacted angrily to comments by Bildt in which he suggested that the military dictatorship in Greece was responsible for instigating the events that led to the occupation of part of Cyprus by Turkish forces.