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EU should avoid double standards over Turkey, Belarus

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Brussels must not show double standards in upholding human rights in Belarus but ignore Turkey’s violations especially in Cyprus, President Nicos Anastasiades said Wednesday.

Anastasiades made the comments in an intervention during the extraordinary European Council meeting that took place via teleconference.

He welcomed the approach and the immediate reaction of the EU over the situation in Belarus and the threat of sanctions over rigged elections.

“I expect, however, that the EU will follow the same strong and decisive approach for third countries which violate international law.”

President of the European Council Charles Michel called for an extraordinary European Council meeting to review the ongoing situation in Belarus, after protests following presidential elections in the country on August 9.

According to an official statement, Anastasiades said in his intervention that the EU must be present whenever democratic principles, the rule of law, human rights and international law are violated.

He said Cyprus has for years experienced the violation of human rights and basic principles at the hands of Turkey.

He also noted that the violation of human rights and basic principles by Turkey, a state which is a candidate for EU membership, against its own people, by silencing the press and jailing officials.

Anastasiades also referred to the ongoing violation of the Republic’s sovereign rights by Turkey as well as Ankara’s illegal and provocative actions in the maritime zones of Cyprus and Greece.

He underlined that the EU has the responsibility to react to these serious provocations against peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, noting that the escalation of Turkish aggression will not be reversed through a lukewarm reaction by the EU.

Charles Michel has called for an extraordinary meeting of the European Council on September 24-25 to discuss the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean.