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Sun, 08 Dec 2019 12:45 GMT

Macron: Turkey's Actions in Eastern Mediterranean Illegal and Unacceptable

Politics

7Dnews London

Sat, 24 Aug 2019 18:50 GMT

French President Emmanuel Macron said that both France and the European Union view Turkey’s actions in Cyprus as illegal, over both its continued occupation of the north of Cyprus, and its illegal drilling activity off the coast of Cyprus.

During a meeting with Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, in Paris, Macron expressed France's solidarity with Greece and Cyprus over the illegal Turkish actions.

Macron stressed in a press statement quoted by the Cyprus News Agency, that Greece is facing an increase in challenges in the eastern Mediterranean region because of Turkey's actions in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Cyprus.

"The EU and France will not show any tolerance on this issue," Macron said.

For his part, Mitsotakis stressed the importance of France's friendship, and called on French companies to invest in Greece, saying, "we will talk about a new structure of the euro area," stressing the need for "Europe to defend its citizens and its borders."

During their meeting, Macron and Mitsotakis discussed French-Greek defence cooperation, as well as security and stability issues in the Eastern Mediterranean.

"The Turkish soldiers should leave the north of the island of Cyprus, and end the Turkish occupation of the island," Mitsotakis said.

Ankara, who have no diplomatic relations with Cyprus, alleges that certain sectors of EEZ fall under the sovereignty of Turkish Cypriots, who rule a separatist state in the north of the island, that is recognised only by Turkey.

A Turkish invasion in 1974 caused Cyprus to be divided in two countries. Turkey has denied Cyprus the right to explore for gas in areas of the southern coast of the disputed island, sending instead its own drilling ships.

In June, the EU warned Turkey about its "illegal drilling activities" off Cyprus, and also warned of possible retaliation over the controversial gas exploration bid, calling for respect for Cyprus's sovereignty.

In July, EU officials agreed political and financial sanctions against Turkey, after Ankara went ahead with drilling operations off Cyprus, despite repeated warnings.

Moreover, the US State Department called on the Turkish authorities to stop energy drilling operations off the Cypriot coast, calling it a "provocative step."

A Turkish ship is already off the coast of Cyprus, and Cyprus issued arrest warrants against its crew in June. The second drilling vessel in Turkey arrived off the coast of Cyprus in July, in a flouting of international law, and ignoring calls for calm and non-escalation.


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