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EU Foreign Ministers seek options against Turkey

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Foreign Ministers want an options paper drafted outlining possible ways for Brussels to respond to Turkey if it does not back down over opening up Varosha, said the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell.

Borrell recalled that during the summer, in a statement on behalf of the member states, he had announced that if Turkey’s negative behaviour continued, the Council would request that the European External Action Service prepare an options paper.

“The options paper will provide an analysis of the situation and provide options for several types of measures that can be taken as a response to Turkey’s actions.

“This is the first step towards decisions being taken in this area,” Borrell said.

Borrell said EU foreign ministers talked about the unacceptable harassment of ships in the EEZs of member states Greece and Cyprus, and all member states expressed their solidarity.

He believes the only answer to these tensions is a sustainable solution to the Cyprus Problem in accordance with Security Council resolutions and EU principles.

According to a diplomatic source, there were statements of support by Spain, Estonia, Belgium, Austria, Greece, Latvia, Ireland, France, Luxembourg and Slovenia during the discussion.

Borrell reminded ministers of his statement in July in which the Council asked Turkey to reverse its unilateral actions regarding the status of Varosha.

He also argued that Turkey is currently acting outside the established framework to solve the Cyprus Problem.

According to sources, Borrell said that Turkey’s requests on visa liberalisation or the renewal of the 2016 statement on migration could not proceed in such an environment.

Cypriot Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides referred to the harassment of Nautical Geo by Turkish ships while conducting research on an EU supported project.

He said by their next meeting, the Foreign Ministers should have specific options on how to react.

Turkey has gone ahead to re-open fenced off Varosha from a no-go military zone; this goes against UN resolutions to return the once-thriving resort to its original residents. (source CNA)