NICOSIA – Cyprus expects support from its European Union partners against Turkey, its foreign minister said on Wednesday, as a divided bloc was set to meet to discuss possible sanctions on Ankara in a dispute over maritime resources.
“Cyprus looks to the EU and its partners for solidarity in action,” Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said after a meeting with his Spanish counterpart, Arancha Gonzalez Laya.
“Concretely upholding our common values and interests, and implementing our own decisions is of the essence.”
Cyprus is withholding its consent to European sanctions on Belarus because it wants tougher measures from the bloc on Turkey, which it says is violating its maritime rights. Greece supports Cyprus’s position.
Senior EU diplomats have said the bloc is unlikely to accede to Cyprus’ demands, after Ankara agreed to talks with Greece in a separate, but related issue.
Turkey dispatched two survey vessels to separate areas in the eastern Mediterranean this year, drawing strong protests from both Cyprus and Greece, which say Ankara is operating on their respective continental shelves. Turkey says its within its rights.
While the vessel close to Greece has been recalled by Turkey to allow for exploratory talks between the two NATO allies, the ship close to Cyprus, the Barbaros Hayrredin Pasa, is still operating south-east of the island.
“Unfortunately.. signals of de-escalation have not been extended to Cyprus,” Christodoulides said.
Laya said dialogue was needed to resolve the issue, not unilateral action. “(That) is what Spain has been advocating between Greece and Turkey and which Spain advocates between Cyprus and Turkey,” she said.
Eastern Mediterranean tensions are to be discussed at the summit of EU leaders meeting Oct. 1-2.