Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya on Wednesday said her country rejects Turkey’s unilateral search for energy reserves in the eastern Mediterranean.
Laya said that such actions hinder a negotiated way out of a territorial dispute that has ratcheted up regional tensions.
She expressed support for Cyprus as Turkey continues to prospect for gas in waters where the Mediterranean island nation claims exclusive economic rights.
“We don’t believe there is a unilateral solution to the problems of the eastern Mediterranean region,” Laya said after talks with Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides.
“And therefore, we reject unilateral moves that are not helping in finding a long-lasting solution.”
Spain’s top diplomat said negotiations and dialogue are the only way to resolve the complex maritime boundaries issue, which also triggered a weeks-long naval standoff between NATO allies Greece and Turkey this month, The Associated Press reported.
“I’m saying this as this is exactly what Spain is doing to delimit its maritime borders with its neighbors. So I’m not preaching anything different from what I’m practicing.”
Meanwhile, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said Athens supports Cyprus’ call for fresh EU sanctions against individuals and companies involved in Turkey’s gas search amid “intensified Turkish wrongdoing in the wider region.”
Dendias said after talks with Christodoulides late Wednesday that the possibility for more economic measures against Turkey should remain open in case it carries on with its ”illegal” actions.
Turkey insists that it’s entitled to carry out a gas search off Cyprus in order to protect its rights and those of Turkish Cypriots who run a breakaway state in the island’s northern third that’s recognized only by Ankara.
The leaders of the EU’s 27 member nations are expected to discuss potential sanctions against Turkey, which is not a member, at a two-day summit starting Thursday.