Nicos Anastasiades said that the EU is at a critical crossroad regarding its relations with Turkey, in an interview with the Greek newspaper “Ta Nea”. As he stressed, the EU will damage its own credibility if it succumbs to Turkey’s blackmail.
Anastasiades said that the escalation of Turkey’s behavior –not only in Cyprus but also in the Aegean, Syria, and Libya– creates rising concern among European officials. Commenting on the targeted measures that the EU adopted against Turkey, Anastasiades explained that “the continuing illegal Turkish actions within the Cypriot EEZ have forced us to react using political means, with the main pillar being the adoption of a series of measures against Turkey by the EU”.
“We understand and respect the fact that some of our partners have special relations with Turkey. However, all the EU member states have responded in a united principled way as regards Turkish provocativeness against Cyprus”, Anastasiades said. In the same context, he underlined that Cyprus’ foreign policy is based on reinforcing and deepening its relations and alliances with other states, both at bilateral and multilateral level.
Anastasiades also explained that the licensed companies in Cyprus’ EEZ have postponed their research activities until 2021, due to the negative impact of the pandemic on the energy field. “It is especially important for us that these companies kept in their budget for 2021, the drilling activities in Cyrpus’ EEZ. This demonstrates their willingness to continue their drilling program”, Anastasiades said.
As regards the role of Turkey in North Cyprus, he expressed the view that Ankara exercises decisive control over political developments in these areas. “It is also recognized that recently top-level Turkish officials have made public interventions that support political forces, which undermine the prospect of the Cyprus solution and promote the division of the island, in full alignment with Ankara”, Anastasiades stressed.
Referring to the coronavirus pandemic, Anastasiades underlined that the governmental efficiency and the citizens’ disciplined and responsible stance led to a successful epidemiological containment. As regards the reboot of the tourism industry, he explained that the first concern of South Cyprus is to ensure a pleasant stay for its tourists, while safeguarding their health. “We have designed and we are implementing specified protocols, that provide concrete hygiene and safety guidelines”, Anastasiades said.