The EU Commissioner for Enlargement, Johannes Hahn, said today that Turkey is moving further away from accession into the European Union due to its current illegal drilling activities in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Speaking after a General Affairs Council meeting, Hahn announced the suspension of accession talks with Turkey and added that their recent actions will bring about the possibility of “appropriate” measures being enforced against the nation.
A ministerial statement released after the Luxembourg meeting said that “The Council expresses serious concerns over Turkey’s current illegal drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean and deplores that Turkey has not yet responded to the European Union’s repeated calls to cease such activities.”
Actions against Cyprus will have a “serious immediate negative impact” across the range of EU-Turkey relations, the council said, calling on Turkey to show restraint and to respect the sovereign rights of the EU member-state.
The EU “stands ready to respond appropriately and in full solidarity” with Cyprus, the Council added.
Cyprus and Greece have been increasing the pressure on other EU countries to take action against Turkey over its announced intention to drill for gas in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone.
The statement arrives after the Tuesday announcement by Turkey that a second Turkish vessel will be sent to an area near the Cyprus coast in order to begin offshore drilling for oil and gas in the coming days.