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EU leaders 'strongly condemn' Turkey actions in Mediterranean

The denunciation by the 28 European Union member states comes after Turkey's arrest of two Greek soldiers and its promise to prevent Greek Cypriots from exploring for oil. 

Published: 22nd March 2018 03:40 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd March 2018 03:40 PM   |  A+A-

File: European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier speaks during a media conference at Brussels | AP

By AFP

BRUSSELS: EU leaders meeting in Brussels Thursday will denounce Turkey's "illegal actions" toward Greece and Cyprus in the east Mediterranean and Aegean seas, draft summit conclusions said.

The denunciation by the 28 European Union member states comes after Turkey's arrest of two Greek soldiers and its promise to prevent Greek Cypriots from exploring for oil. 

It risks further straining ties before an EU-Turkey summit in the Bulgarian resort of Varna on March 26, aimed at improving relations damaged by Turkey's crackdown over a failed coup in 2016.

"The European Council strongly condemns Turkey's continued illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea and underlines its full solidarity with Cyprus and Greece," it said.

The draft also "calls on Turkey to cease these actions and respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources in accordance with EU and international law."

The leaders expressed "grave concern over the continued detention of EU citizens in Turkey" and called for these issues to be resolved through dialogue with the EU member states.

Two Greek soldiers were arrested on March 2 for entering a military zone in the northern Turkish province of Edirne and are waiting for their case to be heard.

The denunciation shows strong support for Greece and Cyprus, which are among the EU countries most reluctant to support a strong bloc condemnation of a nerve agent attack on a former Russian agent on English soil.



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