Spain Rebuffs Turkish Actions in Eastern Mediterranean

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On Wednesday, Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya rejected Turkey’s activities in the eastern Mediterranean. She added that such actions hindered negotiations for the territorial dispute that has ratcheted up regional tensions with Greece.

During talks with her Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides, Laya expressed support for Cyprus, as Ankara continues to prospect for gas in Nicosia’s exclusive economic zone.
She added, “We don’t believe there is a unilateral solution to the problems of the eastern Mediterranean. Therefore, we reject unilateral moves that are not helping in finding a long-lasting solution.” Spain’s FM said negotiations and dialogue are the only way to resolve the complex maritime boundaries. This issue has triggered a weeks-long naval standoff, between NATO members, Greece and Turkey this month.

Meanwhile, Greek FM Nikos Dendias said Athens supported Cyprus’ call for fresh EU sanctions against individuals and companies involved in Turkey’s gas search. This is amid “intensified Turkish wrongdoing in the wider region,” he said.

Turkey insists that it’s entitled to carry out these explorations off Cyprus, in order to protect its rights, and those of Turkish Cypriots. Turkey does not recognize Cyprus as a state and claims that much of the ethnically divided island’s exclusive economic zone, as lying over its own continental shelf.

Dendias said the Greek government has asked for a list of potential measures the EU could take against Turkey. This is in order for Ankara to “understand that there will be consequences if it carries on with its illegal actions.”