President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged European leaders to take an impartial stance against Turkey regarding the issue of the Eastern Mediterranean. Ahead of the crucial EU Summit on October 1-2, where possible sanctions could be imposed, Erdogan wrote a letter to EU officials and the leaders of member states, informing them about Turkey’s stance on the Eastern Mediterranean. The letter was not sent to the leaders of Greece and Cyprus.
In his letter, the Turkish president noted that “Ankara’s policy aims to determine maritime jurisdiction in line with international law and protect its sovereign rights and jurisdiction regarding its continental shelf and guarantee Turkish Cypriots’ rights on access to hydrocarbon resources.”
“I hope that the EU supports our thoughts, abandons the biased stance against Turkey as a candidate country and stops giving unconditional and unjust support to Greece and Greek Cypriot administration’s maximalist discourse,” Erdogan said.
Teaching EU leaders “a lesson about laws”, he also wrote that “the EU’s biased attitude against Turkey contradicts EU and international laws.”
The Turkish president said finding a peaceful solution to the Eastern Mediterranean issue is everyone’s joint responsibility and that the EU should support cooperation and dialogue and avoid taking steps and making decisions that would further deteriorate the crisis.
he noted that Turkey anticipates cooperation among all parties, an equal share of resources and peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.
“We hope that hydrocarbon resources form the basis for a resolution and a greater EU the same way coal and steel formed the basis for the EU’s point of origin,” Erdogan said.
He said that “Turkey is not behind the tensions, Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration are.”
He added that “Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration have consistently disregarded Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots, have taken unilateral steps and have adopted a fait accompli policy, as the EU continued to remain silent since 2003,” when Cyprus became an EU member..
He claimed “Greece’s maximalist ambitions to limit Turkey to the Gulf of Antalya,” and noted that “Athens and Greek Cypriots have been trying to enforce the Map of Seville on Turkey through the EU, but the map’s borders are actually the EU’s outer maritime borders.”
He added that “Greece’s demands for Turkey to halt hydrocarbon activities in the Eastern Mediterranean are unjust,” and noted that “Turkey is committed to start a dialogue without preconditions.”
“On the other hand, as the co-founders of the now-defunct Republic of Cyprus and as the joint owners of the island, Turkish and Greek Cypriots need to facilitate a cooperative mechanism regarding fair distribution of income from hydrocarbon resources,” Erdogan said, adding that the sides do not need to wait for a solution to the Cyprus issue to establish such a mechanism.
Erdogan also said it would be beneficial to establish a comprehensive energy cooperation forum on the island, which would bring all sides together and that Turkey would fully support such an initiative.
EU officials said they were considering new sanctions on Turkey over gas exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean. European Council President Charles Michel said still on Wednesday, that “all options are on the table.”
The issue with Turkey will be discussed at the Leaders dinner on Thursday.
“Our objective is to create a space for a constructive dialogue with Turkey to achieve stability and security in the whole region, and to ensure full respect for the sovereignty and sovereign rights of all EU Member States. This will only be possible if Turkey engages constructively. All options remain on the table to defend the legitimate interests of the EU and its Member States,” Michel said.
PS In his letter, Erdogan forgot to mention that Turkey has been illegally occupying the North of Cyrpus with the deployment of thousands soldiers from the Turkish Army and settlement of thousands of Turkish citizens from Anatolia and thus for 46 consecutive years.