BRUSSELS — European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday said that the withdrawal of Turkish exploratory vessels from the eastern Mediterranean was "a positive step" during her "State of the Union" speech at the European Parliament on Wednesday. She underlined, however, that Turkey must "refrain from unilateral actions."
"Turkey is and will always be an important neighbour. But while we are close together on the map, the distance between us appears to be growing. Yes, Turkey is in a troubled neighbourhood. And yes, it is hosting millions of refugees, for which we support them with considerable funding. But none of this is justification for attempts to intimidate its neighbours," she said.
"Our Member-States, Cyprus and Greece, can always count on Europe’s full solidarity on protecting their legitimate sovereignty rights," the European Commission president emphasised.