Turkey criticizes European Council decisions on Cyprus

ANKARA, The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Friday rejected the European Council conclusions on Turkey’s actions in the Mediterranean and Aegean seas, accusing the European Union of bias.

In a declaration following its meeting in Brussels yesterday, the European Council strongly condemned Turkey’s “continued illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea” and underlined “its full solidarity with Cyprus and Greece.” In response, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said, “Such wordings solely based on the Greek Cypriot and Greek claims are unacceptable and create an opportunity for some other countries to hide behind them.” The ministry accused the EU of being biased in favor of Cyprus, regretting that the declaration of the Council came just four days ahead of the Turkey-EU summit, due in Varna, Bulgaria.

“The EU’s expression of unconditional solidarity to a country [is] based solely on membership status regardless of the legitimacy of the country’s position,” Turkey’s Anadolu Agency (AA) quoted the statement as saying.

“As long as this stance continues, it will not be possible to accept the EU even as merely a third party in the Cyprus issue.

“We find it peculiar that our NATO allies within the EU support the actions of the Greek Cypriot Administration that do not comply with the international law.

“At the same time, they adopt a discourse that is far away from showing any solidarity with Turkey, a country devotedly fighting against various terrorist entities that also constitute a threat to the EU,” the statement added.

On February 23, five vessels of the Turkish navy intercepted the drillship Saipem, chartered by Italy’s energy giant Eni, after it attempted to reach its worksite in an off-shore gas field, east Cyprus.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the Turkish Cypriots in the northern part of the island, which prompted Turkey to step in as a guarantor power.

Source: Kuwait News Agency