European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the withdrawal of Turkish survey vessels from the eastern Mediterranean was “a positive step.” She underlined, however, that “Turkey must refrain from unilateral actions.”
Speaking at the European Parliament on the “State of the Union” on Wednesday,von der Leyen expressed the block’s solidarity with Greece and Cyprus.
“Turkey is and will always be an important neighbor. But while we are close together on the map, the distance between us appears to be growing. Yes, Turkey is in a troubled neighborhood. And yes, it is hosting millions of refugees, for which we support them with considerable funding. But none of this is justification for attempts to intimidate its neighbors,” she said.
She added that “Turkey is very close to us on the map but the distance is getting bigger. It hosts millions of refugees and we are offering significant amount of money to support the effort but nothing can justify the effort to blackmail its neighbors and the EU state members. Greece and Cyprus should always count on full solidarity.”
“Our Member-States, Cyprus and Greece, can always count on Europe’s full solidarity on protecting their legitimate sovereignty rights,” the European Commission president emphasized.