On 7 October 2020, Cypriot Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Demetris Papadakis of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“Turkish provocation and sabre rattling is ramping up tensions in the Republic of Cyprus and compromising a return to the negotiating table to discuss the future of the island. Today, the occupying power has begun bringing in heavy machinery for the first phase of projected works along the deserted stretch of the Famagusta beachfront that are scheduled to commence on Thursday, 8 October, with the ultimate aim of establishing a settlement there. At a time of growing international hostilities, this encroachment by Turkey on sovereign rights in the Republic of Cyprus is a matter of the greatest concern to the EU and therefore cannot be allowed to go unchallenged. We accordingly urge the European Council to convene for the purpose of imposing effective sanctions on Turkey, thereby affirming EU credibility.
In view of this:
Can the Commission say whether immediate sanctions commensurate with the gravity of the infringement will be imposed? In other words, will the form and substance of EU countermeasures be in line with their intended purpose?”
On 19 January 2021, High Representative and Vice-President Borrell responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “The EU has expressed its grave concern over the decision to proceed with the ‘opening’ of part of the fenced area of Varosha as of 8 October 2020, following the announcement made in Ankara on 6 October 2020.
The EU has also underlined the importance of the status of Varosha, as set out in relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions, in particular Resolutions 550 (1984) and 789 (1992), urged full respect of those Resolutions and called for the immediate reversal of recent actions.
Moreover, the EU deplored the actions of 15 November 2020 in Varosha and statements contradicting the principles of the UN for a settlement of the Cyprus question, and stated that it is imperative for Turkey to contribute in concrete terms and undertake responsible actions with a view to creating a conducive environment for negotiations.
In its conclusions of 1-2 October 2020, reaffirmed in the conclusions of 15-16 October 2020, the European Council expressed support for the speedy resumption of negotiations, under the auspices of the UN, and full commitment to a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem within the UN framework and in accordance with the relevant UNSC Resolutions, and in line with the principles on which the EU is founded. It expects the same of Turkey.
On the Eastern Mediterranean, the European Council of 10 December 2020 invited: — The Council to adopt additional listings in the context of the sanctions regime for Turkey’s unauthorised drilling activities;
— The High Representative and the Commission to submit a report on the EU-Turkey relations and on instruments and options on how to proceed, including on the extension of the scope of the abovementioned regime for consideration at the latest at the March 2021 European Council.”
Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/photos/famagusta-cyprus-church-building-105080/