Turkey slams EU proposal on cooperation with Cyprus

Turkey has dismissed a proposal by European Union High Representative Josep Borrell for cooperation between Turkey and the Greek Cypriots in the eastern Mediterranean as far from serious.

Borrell had also welcomed Nicosia’s offer to Ankara to negotiate in good faith the maritime delimitation between their relevant coasts. 

“The proposal is far from being serious,” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement.

The proposal was made by the same EU “which always ignores the existence of the Turkish Cypriots and has never referred to their equal rights over the natural resources of the island in any of its statements,” Aksoy said.

Borrell’s statement comes during an ongoing spat between Turkey and other countries – including Greece, Egypt, Israel – collaborating on a gas drilling project off the Cyprus coast. Ankara, which does not recognise Cyprus as a state, claims half of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) on behalf of the breakaway Turkish Cypriot administration and has repeatedly carried out warship-escorted offshore drilling in the territory.

Turkey maintains that attempts by EU member Cyprus to conduct gas exploration are a violation of the rights of the Turkish Cypriots.