Turkey Rejects EU Leaders’ Condemnation

Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs

A statement by EU leaders decrying Turkey’s “illegal actions” in the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean was rejected by Ankara on Friday.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said the EU leaders’ statement contained “unacceptable comments against our country that serve the interests of Greece and the Greek Cypriots”.

Aksoy also claimed the EU had “lost its objectivity on the Cyprus issue,” and was merely backing Athens and Nicosia because of their EU membership.

The latest war of words comes ahead of a major summit planned for the EU and Turkey in Bulgaria on Monday.

EU President Donald Tusk and European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker are due to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Varna.

The summit comes amid increasing tension in the Aegean, with Greece angry over repeated airspace violations by Turkish military craft and Ankara’s jostling for position near the Imia islets.

 

On Thursday, EU leaders also expressed “grave concern” about the continued detention of two Greek soldiers in Turkey after they mistakenly crossed the border at the start of March.

Earlier, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades briefed their EU counterparts on Turkey’s provocative stance in the Aegean and Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone.

The European Union must be very clear with Turkey in terms of respecting international laws, Tsipras said on his arrival at the EU Council meeting.