EU row erupts as Turkey savages ‘weak’ bloc over Cyprus punishment threat: ‘Got NO plan!’

Cyprus: Anastasiades discusses EU's position on Turkey

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The bloc has repeatedly told Turkey it cannot reopen Varosha, an abandoned southern quarter of the Cypriot city Famagusta under the control of the Turkish military. Both the EU and Turkey have suffered worsening relations over Varosha as well as drilling rights, maritime borders in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Cyprus issue.

Ibrahim Kalın, Turkish Presidential spokesman, said the EU lacks the vision to further its relations with Turkey.

The EU will host its next summit with Turkey in September, after the spokesman criticised Brussels for falling “far below the expectations” in their last meeting in June.

He said the EU is “weak” and ” without a plan”, and doubts there will be an improvement to relations by September.

The spokesman also told reporters: “I wonder why we are not making progress anywhere. It can’t just be due to Turkey.”

In a statement, Turkey’s foreign ministry insisted the country has more than fulfilled its responsibilities in terms of reducing tensions and initiating dialogue and cooperation with the EU.

It added: “The EU’s acknowledgment that the tension has decreased and delaying taking concrete decisions to implement the positive agenda, including updating the customs union, is seen as a delaying tactic, lack of will and abuse of EU membership by one or two member states.

“Avoiding reference to our candidacy status in the text also confirms this view.”

It comes as the EU warned the bloc’s foreign ministers will consider actions against Turkey at their next meeting if Ankara does not reverse actions in Varosha, which are contrary to UN Security Council Resolutions.

In a written statement on behalf of the EU, High Representative Josep Borrell said the European Union “strongly condemns Turkey’s unilateral steps and the unacceptable announcements made by the Turkish President and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community on 20 July 2021 on the further reopening of the fenced-off town of Varosha”.

Mr Borrell added the EU welcomes the statement made by the President of the UN Security Council on behalf of the Council last week, and in particular the condemnation and expression of deep regret about the unilateral actions in Varosha that run contrary to the Security Council’s previous resolutions and statements.

He then said: “The EU equally calls for the immediate reversal of these actions and the reversal of all steps taken on Varosha since October 2020.”

Earlier in July, Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar announced the demilitarisation and opening of 3.5 percent of the fenced area of Varosha for settlement was presented as a decision of ‘cabinet’ in the north with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcoming the move.

The fenced area of Varosha, however, is under the control of the Turkish military.

Mr Borrell said the EU continues to be guided by the relevant Security Council resolutions, 550 (1984) and 789 (1992), which consider attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible.

He added: “No actions should be carried out in relation to Varosha that are not in accordance with those resolutions.”

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