EU leaders to call on Turkey to respect international law in Greece dispute

The European Union’s leaders are expected to slam Turkey for its handling of disputes with neighbour Greece at a European Council summit this week, EURACTIV said on Tuesday.

The European Council will say that it “expects Turkey to fully respect international law, to de-escalate tensions in the interest of regional stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, and to promote good-neighbourly relations in a sustainable way,” EURACTIV said, citing a copy of the summit’s draft conclusions.

Turkey must respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all EU member states, EU leaders will say, according to the draft.

Turkey and Greece have been mired in arguments over territory that have almost led to direct military clashes, most recently in 2020, when Greek warships neared a Turkish hydrocarbon survey ship searching for natural gas off a Greek island. While the two neighbours both deny the other’s accusations of territorial violations, military tensions have built again in the past three months as the two countries accused each other of violating their airspace and Turkey conducted military exercises close to Greek islands lying adjacent to Turkey’s coastline.

The European Council has been deeply concerned about Turkey’s recent actions and statements, EURACTIV said, recalling its previous conclusions.

Turkey is calling on Greece to stop arming its Aegean islands, saying they must be demilitarised in line with the Treaty of Lausanne, signed early last century. Greece says the circumstances have fundamentally changed since then and the restrictions no longer apply. The two governments have sent letters to the United Nations outlining their conflicting positions.

Greece and Turkey are also at odds over migrants and the ethnically divided island of Cyprus. Turkey has stationed 30,000 troops in the Turkish Cypriot-controlled north of Cyprus since 1974, when it invaded in response to a brief Greek Cypriot coup backed by the military junta then ruling Greece. The Republic of Cyprus, governed from the Greek Cypriot south, is an EU member represented the whole island in EU affairs.  



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