The European Parliament has called for sanctions against Ankara after President Tayyip Erdogan visited the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in north Cyprus. On Thursday, the European Union’s parliament agreed a non-binding resolution in support of EU member Cyprus, urging EU leaders to “take action and impose tough sanctions” against Turkey.
This was a move likely to bolster support for France’s push for sanctions on Ankara at an EU summit next month.
Turkey is at odds with EU members Greece and Cyprus over hydrocarbon exploration in disputed east Mediterranean waters.
Erdogan incensed Cyprus, whose territory covers the southern half of the partitioned Mediterranean island, on November 15 by visiting Varosha, a resort on the island that has been fenced-off and abandoned in no-man’s land since 1974.
Turkey supported the partial reopening of Varosha last month in a move criticised by the United States, Greece and Greek Cypriots.
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy denounced the resolution and accused the European Parliament of being “prejudiced and disconnected from the realities” on Cyprus.
Mr Aksoy said: “If this approach and mentality are maintained, it would not be possible for EU bodies to make a constructive contribution to the settlement of the Cyprus issue.”
Cyprus has been divided since a 1974 Turkish invasion after a brief Greek-inspired coup.
Only Turkey recognises northern Cyprus as an independent state, but not the internationally recognised Greek Cypriot government to the south.
France has not yet drawn up sanctions against Turkey, but diplomats say any measures would probably target areas of Turkey’s economy linked to natural gas exploration in seas off the coast of Cyprus.
This marks just the latest chaos to hit the EU.
Earlier today Hungary said it’s position on a veto of the European Union’s budget and recovery fund was “rock-solid”.
Orban spoke on state radio a day after Hungary and Poland said the EU could not attach rule-of-law conditions to funds unless the bloc changed its founding treaty, digging in their heels after vetoing the EU budget and a coronavirus recovery fund earlier this month.
A senior EU diplomat said on Thursday that EU member states and European lawmakers had no appetite to re-negotiate the condition linking money to respect for democratic principles.
“With their statement, Poland and Hungary are moving deeper and deeper into isolation,” the diplomat said.