On Saturday, the EU Vice President and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, voiced his full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus.
In a tweet following an extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council meeting, the EU top diplomat wrote: “Full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus, calling Turkey for immediate de-escalation and re-engaging in dialogue.”
The virtual meeting’s agenda included the escalation of tensions in the East Mediterranean following Turkish provocations, among other issues.
During the meeting, the ministers reiterated that the sovereign rights of EU member states must be respected. They recalled EU common positions and the previous Council conclusions of 22 March 2018 and June, July, October, December 2019, in addition to the statements of 15 May 2020, issued on the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean.”
A deteriorating relationship with Turkey “is having far-reaching strategic consequences for the entire EU, well beyond the Eastern Mediterranean,” the ministers noted, while referring to the dispatch of the Turkish ‘Oruc Reis’ research ship and other naval mobilisations within the continental shelf waters of Greece as actions that “do not contribute to finding any solutions.”
“On the contrary, they will lead to greater antagonism and distrust. They create a heightened risk of dangerous incidents,” ministers warned.
They asked Turkey for an immediate de-escalation and called it “crucial”, while underlining “the importance they attach to relations with Turkey.”
They underlined that issues related to the delimitation of maritime boundaries and the exploitation of resources therein can only be addressed through “dialogue, negotiation, good faith, and in accordance with international law as well as in pursuit of the principle of good neighbourly relations, and not through unilateral actions and the mobilisation of naval forces.”
The ministers, also urged Borrell to help “re-establish dialogue and facilitate re-engagement with Turkey” while also “preparing options on further appropriate measures in case tensions do not abate.”