Commission President Jean Claude Juncker called on Turkey on Wednesday “to act with restraint and stop its operations immediately”, referring to the intervention in Syria, while reiterating that “I am a Cypriot”, referring to the illegal Turkish drilling operations in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Addressing the plenary of the European Parliament meeting in Brussels, Juncker made it clear that “if the plan ( of Turkey in North Syria) involves the creation of a so-called safe zone, do not expect the EU to pay anything for it.”

Juncker noted that “the EU`s relations with Turkey are as complex and important as ever”.

“Turkey is a key partner for the EU,” Juncker said, noting “especially with regard to immigration”.

“My firm commitment, that of the Commission, and I think that of the Union, is that the implementation of the 2016 EU – Turkey statement remains clear,” he said. “The refugee facility in Turkey continues to deliver concrete results on the ground, and we must not forget that.”

“But there are other issues that I cannot praise, regarding the Turkish illegal drilling in the eastern Mediterranean” he noted, reiterating that “mainly in this I am a Cypriot and will remain in solidarity with Cyprus.”.

“Turkey has security concerns at the border with Syria, but I urge Turkey and other players to act with restraint and immediately stop the ongoing operations. This military action does not lead to a good result and this should we are paying attention to our Turkish friends,”, he noted

“A viable solution to the Syrian conflict can only be achieved with a genuine political transition,” Juncker concluded.

According to a navigational warning issued by Turkey, Turkish drill ship “Yavuz”, which has returned to Cyprus’ EEZ, will carry out drilling operations inside block 7, located off the south-western coast of Cyprus. Block 7 has been licensed by the government of Cyprus to France’s Total and Italy’s ENI for drilling operations.

“Yavuz”, was anchored off the island’s north-eastern coast on July 8 and operated within the territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus, until September 17, when it departed for a Turkish port in Mersin.

Moreover, Turkey issued a navigational telex (navtex), announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus and since 4 May 2019, the Turkish drill ship “Fatih” has been anchored 36 nautical miles west of Akamas peninsula. The area falls within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus. Ankara extended the navtex until November 1, 2019.

Cyprus has called on drill ship “Yavuz” and its supporting vessels to immediately cease illegal actions in the Republic’ Exclusive Economic Zone and its continental shelf.

A navigational telex (navtex), published on the website of the Joint Rescue and Coordination Centre (JRCC) stationed in Larnaca, also warned all those working on “Yavuz” and its supporting vessels that they will face consequences and an international arrest warrant will be issued against them.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Turkey has ignored numerous UN resolutions calling for the withdrawal of the Turkish troops and respect of the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The last round of negotiations, in the summer of 2017, at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

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