BRUSSELS, Dec 11 (EUROPA PRESS) –
The heads of State and Government of the European Union (EU) have agreed this Friday to respond to the provocations of Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean by expanding the list of those sanctioned for Turkish gas exploration, while entrusting the High Representative for Foreign Policy , Josep Borrell, to study more measures for a new review of the situation in March.
According to the conclusions agreed by the leaders, the EU asks to add more individuals to the list of those sanctioned in the current framework of restrictions for Turkish surveys in the Mediterranean and urges the High Representative and the European Commission to draw up a report on the state of the situation with Turkey to, at the latest in March, study new measures, including expanding the scope of sanctions.
On the crisis in Varosha, an enclave in northern Cyprus, which Turkey has proposed to reopen, the EU demands respect for the United Nations resolutions on this Cypriot city and calls for the “rapid” resumption of the UN-sponsored negotiations to reunify the island.
CRITICISM OF ANKARA’S “PROVOCATIONS”
The crisis in the Mediterranean was one of the main points of the summit, after the leaders pledged in October to review relations with Turkey. Tensions have been increasing with Greece and Cyprus over maritime disputes, but also Turkish assertiveness in Libya, the Caucasus and the Middle East has raised blisters in the EU.
Although all member states arrived at the December meeting recognizing the need to respond to Turkish provocations, the leaders have sought a balance to keep the door open to Ankara for a positive agenda.
In this way, the European Council has denounced the “unilateral actions, provocations and verbal escalation” of Turkey, but positively values measures such as the withdrawal to port of the ship ‘Oruc Reis’ and asks Ankara to follow this line to calm the crisis .
OFFER IN POSITIVE
Despite the deterioration in the relationship, Turkey is an unavoidable neighbor and a key partner for the Union. That is why the leaders reach out to Ankara and reiterate that the offer for a greater relationship remains on the table, if the Government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan shows receptivity to the EU and agrees to dialogue with Greece and Cyprus to resolve their differences.
“The agenda covers the economic and commercial area, contacts between citizens of the EU and Turkey, high-level dialogues and migratory cooperation,” the conclusions of the Twenty-seven are collected.