The European Parliament will discuss on Thursday a draft resolution calling on the EU to immediately impose sanctions on Turkey during its two-day summit, scheduled for Dec. 10.
This comes in response to Ankara’s attempt to impose a fait accompli in Cyprus and its territorial waters.
The resolution also condemns the reopening of part of Varosha by Turkish Cypriots and warns that “creating a new reality on the ground undermines confidence and threatens the prospects for a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem, as it deepens the gap between the two parties and strengthens the division of the island.”
In its resolution, the European Parliament calls on Ankara to withdraw its forces from Cyprus and return “Varosha” to its residents under the supervision of the United Nations, urging EU leaders to maintain their unified stance against Turkish unilateral and illegal actions.
The resolution renews the adherence of the Union as a whole to finding a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem on the basis of a federal state with two nationalities and two regions, rejecting Turkey’s attempts to divide the island.
This comes amid mounting tensions between Turkey, Greece and Cyprus after Ankara announced extending the mission of a gas-exploration ship in the eastern Mediterranean waters.
For his part, EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell highlighted the possibility of tougher EU sanctions against Turkey over its activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, saying the bloc’s leaders will tackle the matter at the upcoming summit.
“Certainly we are in a critical moment with our relationship with Turkey,” Borrell told the European Parliament on Tuesday in Brussels.
“The leaders will have to take a decision” if there will be more sanctions, he said.
“A stable and secure environment in the Eastern Mediterranean and the development of cooperative and mutually beneficial relationships among all partners in the region, bilaterally and multilaterally, is in our strategic interest,” Borrell stressed.
“We are passing this message clearly to our Turkish interlocutors. I have also passed it personally to the new Turkish Cypriot leader in a phone call I had with him immediately after his election,” he noted, adding that this is the time to support UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in his efforts to resume the Cyprus settlement talks.
“Spreading distrust and stoking tensions will help no-one.”
In February, the EU imposed asset freezes and travel bans on two employees of Turkish Petroleum Corp. in response to Turkey’s natural-gas hunt off Cyprus.
A Cypriot proposal to include Turkish entities and add individuals to that blacklist has been held up since June amid hesitancy by EU countries, including Germany.
Turkey irked the EU further on Oct. 8 by reopening a ghost town -- Varosha -- in the Turkish-controlled part of Cyprus. The area had been abandoned and sealed off since Turkey’s 1974 takeover of northern Cyprus.
Earlier this month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the area and held what was described as a “picnic” in Varosha, prompting an EU rebuke.