European Parliament debates Turkeys’ violations in Cyprus’ EEZ

European Parliament debates Turkeys’ violations in Cyprus’ EEZ

By Kyriacos Kyriacou – Nicosia

The European Parliament will hold a debate on Wednesday on the Turkish violations in Cyprus` Exclusive Economic Zone, while on Thursday a resolution is expected to be adopted, urging Turkey to show restraint and act in accordance with international law.

The Cyprus News Agency said the draft resolution includes strong references and urges the Turkish government to sign immediately the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and respect the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus over its territorial waters.

The debate, titled ‘Turkish actions creating tensions in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus’, will begin Wednesday afternoon and MEPs will vote on Thursday.

Although a number of amendments will be submitted, they are not expected to affect the substance of the resolution, CNA said.

The resolution also urges Turkey to revoke its NAVTEX immediately and refrain from any violation of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus.

In addition, it deplores the escalation of threats and the unilateral actions of Turkey against the Republic of Cyprus on the matter of its EEZ.

Meanwhile, Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, told a meeting of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee that Brussels expected Ankara to respect Cyprus’ sovereign rights over its EEZ, show restraint and avoid any more statements or actions that could cause more friction.

At the same time, he added: “it is very important that all parties de-escalate tension and act constructively. We stand firmly behind the UN envoy Espen Barth Eide in his efforts to get the communities in Cyprus to resume the settlement talks.”

“We very strongly encourage all relevant stakeholders to contribute to a positive climate conducive to a Cyprus settlement for the benefit of all.”

Referring to Turkey`s EU accession negotiations, he said that the Commission renewed its call to the Council to define the opening benchmarks for chapter 23: Judiciary and fundamental rights, and chapter 24: Justice, freedom and security.

“The Commission holds that it is in the interest of both Turkey and the EU that negotiations under these two chapters open as soon as possible,” Hahn said.

The British Ambassador in Ankara has also conveyed the UK’s concerns to Turkey, Foreign Office Minister Baroness Anelay said, in response to a question by Lord Harris of Haringey at the House of Lords.

The Labour peer had inquired about representations made to the government of Turkey with regard to its plans to conduct seismic surveys within the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus, from October 20 to December 30.

The Foreign Office minister’s written answer added that “this ongoing dispute puts at risk UN-facilitated efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement.” Baroness Anelay also said that the UK Government and its partners would continue to urge the parties to reduce tensions and that it strongly supported the resumption of settlement talks.

Lord Harris had also asked about any implications of the actions of the Turkish government for the United Kingdom’s Treaty of Guarantee obligations to the Republic of Cyprus.

Baroness Anelay’s comment was that “the UK’s commitments under the Treaty of Guarantee are unchanged.”