NICOSIA - With the European Union not having an army and unwilling to get tougher on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for sending energy drill ships off Cyprus, the island’s legitimate government got some backing.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the bloc stands behind Cyprus after issuing soft sanctions against Turkey, which has been trying to join the EU since 2005, hopes sliding away from Erdogan purged civil society, the military, courts and started locking up journalists after a failed 20168 coup attempt against him.
Von Der Leyen’s moral support reiterated what the EU has said for months, deploring Turkey looking for oil and gas in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) but fearding Erdogan will flood the bloc with millions more refugees and migrants if pushed too far.
“We stand very strongly by the side of our member state, Cyprus. It is very important to support Cyprus in this matter, we cannot accept the behavior we see by Turkey in this matter,” von der Leyen said, The Cyprus Mail reported.
Croatia Prime Minister Croatia PM Andrej Plenkovic, whose country holds the symbolic rotating EU Presidency said policy decisions are made by the EU Council, made up of the heads of state of the bloc’s 28 member countries.
He added that, “Our policy will remain within the framework of the European Council conclusions as well as the earlier conclusions on the level of the Council. So, nothing will go ultra vires from the line which was taken,” he concluded over how far he’s willing to go.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third, still staying there.