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Cyprus tells EU not to appease Turkey aggression

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Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides told his EU counterparts that their policy of appeasement towards Turkey’s actions in the Eastern Mediterranean acts as a form of encouragement while perceived as weakness.

Christodoulides told his colleagues during an emergency video conference: “I do not rejoice in being able to say ‘I told you so’, neither to repeat that Cyprus has underlined+ since July 2019 that the policy of appeasement will not work with Turkey,” the Foreign Ministry tweeted.

“Rather, appeasement & lukewarm response by the European Union acts as a form of encouragement & is perceived as weakness, for a country that thrives on bullying, aggression and blackmail,” the MFA said in a second tweet.

“Cyprus stands ready to negotiate in good faith with Turkey on the delimitation of the maritime zones between their relevant coasts, an invitation that is open and has been welcomed by the Council repeatedly.

This is a common position of the EU that all of us are bound by,” Christodoulides said.

He added: “We’ve also invited Turkey to submit the issue of delimitation of our respective maritime zones…If Turkey feels confident about its legal positions, claiming they are based on International Law why not put them to the test?”

Turkey’s seismic research vessel Barbaros entered Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) on July 30, 2020.

According to an illegal NAVTEX, the area is located southeast of Cape Greco (Famagusta) and includes parts of blocks 2, 3 and 13 of Cyprus’ EEZ.

Turkish drillship Yavuz entered Cyprus’ EEZ in April after Ankara announced another attempt to drill in blocks licensed to European companies.

It was the sixth time Turkey has attempted to drill within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus, this time in an area that covers gas exploration blocks 6 and 7, which have been licensed to Italy’s ENI and France’s TOTAL.

This month, Turkey announced the Oruc Reis will conduct seismic surveys off the Greek islands of Karpathos, Rhodes and Kastellorizo, until August 23.

The area spans across the Greek and Turkish continental shelves and Cyprus’ EEZ.

The Oruc Reis is accompanied by Turkish naval ships.