No: 178, 18 June 2019, Press Release Regarding The Eu General Affairs Council Conclusions On Turkey

Republic Of Turkey Ministry Of Foreign Affairs 19.06.2019

We reject the parts of the EU General Affairs Council Conclusions of 18 June meeting regarding Turkey.

These conclusions show how far the EU is from understanding the steps taken by Turkey despite the conditions it finds itself in and the challenges it faces. The EU made a grave mistake in 2004 by accepting the Greek Cypriot Administration as an EU member. For the sake of carrying on with this mistake, the EU is now demeaning Turkey-EU relations to the Cyprus issue and becoming a hostage of it. It is apparent that the EU has produced today’s conclusions in a partisan way and completely from the Greek Cypriot perspective.

The EU has acted as a bargain based interests-group rather than a community upholding principles and values. This is contrary to the EU’s founding philosophy.

The EU by positioning itself as a court and attempting to render a judgment on bilateral disputes related to sovereignty under the pretext of “Union solidarity” and issuing politically motivated biased statements with regard to sensitive issues such as maritime boundary delimitation that comprise extremely technical dimensions, does not serve regional peace and stability. It is well-known that in the past, the EU never took stance in bilateral issues of overlapping maritime jurisdiction claims of its own members. The EU’s current position is in fact based on the unequitable and maximalist claims of Greece and the Greek Cypriots regarding the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean aiming at usurping the rights of Turkey and of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus – the co-owner of the island of Cyprus. We totally reject these claims.

The Council Conclusions related to the Eastern Mediterranean are lacking legal basis. We call on the EU to change this biased and unrealistic approach.

Turkey continues to stand for peace and stability in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean, as in all the surrounding seas. Those taking steps against the legitimate rights and interests of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean and ignoring the presence of Turkey in the region as the country with the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean will never reach their goals.

Turkish Cypriots have proposed to establish a joint energy committee for the energy resources/revenues of the Island. This proposal has been rejected by the Greek Cypriots. Until a political settlement is found on the Island, the establishment of such a committee will be a positive step and by enhancing the confidence between parties, facilitate a comprehensive settlement.

Until this happens, Turkey remains determined to take the necessary steps with a view to protecting its rights and interests within its own maritime jurisdiction areas as well as the legitimate rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriots. No one should doubt it.

Turkey will continue taking resolute and sincere steps in its EU process despite the EU’s biased approach. Turkey is not moving away from the EU as alleged. On the contrary, the EU is pushing Turkey away by not acting in a fair and honest manner. The EU is also losing credibility in the eyes of the Turkish people. In the face of global challenges such as terrorism, irregular migration and energy security, it will be to the EU’s own interest to act with a strategic vision and to abandon its partial stance.

Ayşe Selcan Şanlı Consul General
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