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Statement of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias, following today’s meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council (Brussels, 13 July 2020)
The escalation of Turkey’s violations of international legality and Turkey’s aggressiveness were the focus of our discussions.
There was strong condemnation of the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque. In fact, Turkey was asked to reconsider and reverse its decision.
During the Council meeting, I referred to the serious impact of Turkey’s violations of international legality on security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean. I am satisfied, because our partners expressed solidarity with Greece and Cyprus regarding Turkey’s illegal actions against our sovereignty and sovereign rights. There was broad consensus on the drafting, at our request, of a list of further appropriate measures – in other words, sanctions – that will enable the EU to respond effectively if Turkey moves ahead with its violations.
We agreed for Mr. Borrell to explore ways to reduce the tensions with Turkey, but strictly on the basis of the Council Conclusions. At the request of the Greek and Cypriot sides, Turkey’s violations of international legality will be discussed again at the informal Council meeting in August, in Berlin, and not at the Council’s regular meeting in September, as was originally planned. I also informed my colleagues that I shall request the convening of an extraordinary Council meeting if, up until the time of the informal Council meeting, Turkey escalates its violations.
Finally, with regard to Libya, several countries, including Greece, referred to Turkey’s violation of the arms embargo and condemned the incident involving the French navy vessel. Moreover, Turkey was called upon directly to show a constructive stance and stop violating the arms embargo in Libya.