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Josep Borrell with a written statement warns Turkey to immediately end renewed drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean. The statement was issued after Ankara announced on Saturday that it will resume drilling activities by the Yavuz vessel. Yavuz is an ultra-deepwater drillship and will operate in the maritime zone that has been delineated by Cyprus and Egypt.

Statement by the High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell on renewed drilling activities by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean. 16/08/2020

Today’s announcement by Turkey of renewed drilling activities by the Yavuz vessel in a maritime zone which has been delineated by Cyprus and Egypt regrettably fuels further tensions and insecurity in the Eastern Mediterranean.

This action runs counter and undermines efforts to resume dialogue and negotiations, and to pursue immediate de-escalation. This is the only path towards stability and lasting solutions, as reiterated by EU Foreign Ministers last Friday.

I call on the Turkish authorities to end these activities immediately and to engage fully and in good faith in a broad dialogue with the European Union.
Josep Borrell Fontelles, EU High Representative

Foreign Affairs Ministers, 14 August 2020

Josep Borrell, convened on Friday 14 August a video conference meeting with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the 27 EU Member States. The aim of the discussions was to address the pressing situations in the Eastern Mediterranean by Turkey. Also for the conditions in Belarus after the August 9 Presidential Elections. The Ministers also touched upon the situations in Lebanon, Venezuela and Bolivia.

The High Representative will remain in constant contact with the Ministers on these and other issues in the coming weeks, ahead of the informal Foreign Affairs Council (‘Gymnich’), which will take place on 27-28 August in Berlin.

Today EU reacted in unity and decisively in defence of EU interests & values, within Union & beyond our borders. We will always stand up for int’l law, democracy, human rights and freedoms.
Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

Ministers addressed the pressing situations with Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean and in Belarus after the August 9 Presidential elections. The ministers also touched upon the situations in Lebanon, Venezuela and Bolivia.

 

Eastern Mediterranean

The Ministers discussed the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, following a grave deterioration of the security situation in recent days. Three words reflect the outcome of the discussion: solidarity, de-escalation, and dialogue.

Solidarity:

Ministers reaffirmed the EU’s full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus. They reiterated that sovereign rights of EU Member States must be respected. They recalled EU common positions and the previous Council Conclusions of 22 March 2018 and June, July, October, December 2019, in addition to the Statement on the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean of 15 May 2020.

At the same time, Ministers stressed that the serious deterioration in the relationship with Turkey is having far-reaching strategic consequences for the entire EU, well beyond the Eastern Mediterranean.

De-escalation:

Ministers stressed in particular that recent naval mobilisations by Turkey do not contribute to finding any solutions. On the contrary, they will lead to greater antagonism and distrust. They create a heightened risk of dangerous incidents. Immediate de-escalation by Turkey was considered crucial.

Dialogue:

Ministers recalled the importance they attach to relations with Turkey. They underlined that issues related to delimitation of maritime boundaries and exploitation of resources therein can only be addressed through dialogue and negotiation, in good faith. Dialogue has to be in accordance with international law and in pursuit of the principle of good neighbourly relations. Not through unilateral actions and the mobilisation of naval forces.

Ministers recalled the outcome of the Foreign Affairs Council of 13 July. They reiterated strong support for the High Representative’s efforts to re-establish dialogue and facilitate re-engagement with Turkey. At the same time, the High Representative/Vice-President is to prepare options on further appropriate measures in case tensions do not abate. A broader discussion about relations with Turkey will be held later in August, at the Gymnich.

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Hellenic Navy - Hydra class frigate

Turkey sends more ships to Mediterranean after Erdogan issues scathing warning to Greece

On Aug. 7, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country resumed drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean, one day after Egypt and Greece signed an agreement. This deal is on the demarcation of the maritime borders between the two countries. This means that the agreements is setting up an exclusive economic zone between them.

On Sunday, Ankara issued a notice to seafarers around the southwest coast of Cyprus, informing them that Turkish ships will continue drilling for oil and gas in the region. According to the state-owned Anadolu Agency, the exploration vessel “Yavuz” will resume its duties in the designated area, from August 18 to September 15, according to the latest NAFTEX notice.

The Yavuz will operate side by side in the region. Yavuz operates with the ships “Artgrel Bay”, “Osman Bey” and “Orhan Bey”. The notice stressed that sailors should not approach the area during the aforementioned period. The agency said that “the Cyprus Romanian Administration issued a counter notification to respond to Ankara, claiming that the Turkish notification was unauthorized and invalid, and that the activities of the Yavuz and its accompanying ships were illegal.”

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

On Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his country is ready to respond to Greece, He will respond in the event of the latter’s attack on the Turkish drilling vessel “Uruj Rais” in the eastern Mediterranean region. Erdogan added, in a televised speech, on Saturday: “We will not hesitate to respond (to Greece) in the event that the Uruj Rais ship is attacked.

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