At an EU draft summit on Thursday, European Union leaders decided to issue a call to Turkey to respect Cyprus’s sovereign rights. The move comes after fresh tensions broke out between the two countries in regards to oil and gas exploration.
On Monday, Cyprus slammed Turkey for sending a survey vessel into an area where the Cypriot government had already licensed exploratory drilling for oil and gas.
“The European Council expressed serious concern about the renewed tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean. It called on Turkey to respect Cyprus’ sovereign rights,” reads a statement prepared for the meeting of the 28 EU leaders in Brussels.
“In the current circumstances, it is more important than ever to reach a comprehensive Cyprus settlement which would benefit all Cypriots,” it adds.
After the Turkish occupation of the northern part of Cyprus in 1974, Ankara has repeatedly refused to accept any Cypriot government development of offshore energy resources until the division of the island is resolved.
Meanwhile, in early October, Cyprus dropped out of the UN peace talks due to its dispute with Turkey over the development of energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean. Had the talks commenced as planned, Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades would have met with his Turkish counterpart, Dervis Eroglu.
Upon his arrival in Brussels for the EU summit, Anastasiades was briefly hospitalized due to high blood pressure. He asked Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to represent him in the meeting. Furthermore, Cyprus responded to Ankara’s actions by saying they would block any talks that would advance Turkey’s bid for EU membership.