During a summit in Brussels last week, the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned Ankara that it could expect a tough response over its illegal actions in the Cyprus exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Earlier, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called on the EU to impose sanctions on Ankara if it continues its activities on the shelf of Cyprus.
Turkish political analyst Can Ünver, head of the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the Ayvansaray University noted that the statements made by the European leaders would not affect Turkey’s determination to continue exploratory activities in the offshore maritime zone of Cyprus that Turkey considers as its own continental shelf.
“Seemingly on the suggestion of US President Trump regarding the S-400 [missile defence systems from Russia] issue, the politics of threats and pressure is what we are seeing, and some powers believe that these methods can be used to force Turkey to change its stance. They are mistaken because Turkey will not abandon its legitimate position regarding exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean, as repeatedly stated by the representatives of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” Ünver said.
"Turkey by its actions in the territorial waters of Cyprus isn't violating international law. We are conducting exploratory drilling and have begun work on the development of a “logistics port” in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to provide logistics for military navigation in the Eastern Mediterranean. This is indicative of Turkey's decisive position in the region. The EU's threat “to suspend talks on upgrading the Customs Union with Turkey” is just another example of the mafia-style policy that Europe has adopted. This will not crush Turkey’s determination,” the Turkish scholar stressed.
According to Ünver, all EU threats “will remain simply idle talk”, since Turkey has good relations with many European countries, and accession negotiations with the EU are almost frozen anyway. The expert also pointed out the key importance of Turkey to NATO, and stressed that “Ankara will continue to demonstrate the same kind of firm position it has shown on the issue of S-400 purchases with regards to the issue of hydrocarbons exploration in Cyprus.”
The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.