No: 302, 14 October 2019, Press Release Regarding The Conclusions Adopted By The Eu Foreign Affairs Council

Republic Of Turkey Ministry Of Foreign Affairs 14.10.2019

We fully reject and condemn the calls made towards our country and the conclusions adopted in the EU Foreign Affairs Council today (14 October) in Luxemburg under the title of “North East Syria” and “Turkey’s activities in the Eastern Mediterranean”.

The Operation Peace Spring is being successfully conducted on the basis of international law, in accordance with our right of self-defense under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter and UN Security Council resolutions on the fight against terrorism.

It is unacceptable that the EU displays a protective approach towards terrorist elements, in the face of threats and attacks against our national security as well as against Syria’s territorial integrity and national unity by PYD/YPG terrorist organization, the PKK offshoot in Syria. We consider the fact that the EU remained silent in its Council conclusion about the massacre where 18 innocent civilians including a baby were murdered in our country in the last two days as a result of PYD/YPG terrorism supported by some EU countries, as a manifestation of this faulty approach.

As continuously reiterated, we invite the EU, which serves for the separatist agenda of a terrorist organization under the pretence of fighting against DEASH terror as well as the EU member states that support this organization, to self-criticism and common sense regarding their responsibilities on the course of today’s events. We underline that the EU, with its current policies and practices, does not have the right to lecture Turkey on the fight against DEASH.

Turkey, hosting the largest refugee population in the world, is determined to continue its fight against all terrorist organizations, DEASH and PYD/YPG in particular, that threaten its national security and the Syrian people in the future.

This operation will provide a safe zone on Turkey-Syria border, enable the return of the area to its rightful owners and facilitate the voluntary return of displaced Syrians to their lands. We would like to remind that Article 9 of the 18 March Agreement imposes the obligation to the EU and member countries, together with Turkey, to improve the conditions in areas close to the Turkish border of the Syrian territory in order to allow the local people and refugees to live in safer areas.

On the other hand, we find it totally unacceptable that the EU considers our research and drilling activities as illegal, which are being carried out resolutely to protect our own rights, as well as the rights of the Turkish Cypriots in the Eastern Mediterranean. This prejudiced position of the EU against Turkey, which has no precedent, does not comply with the international law either.

Furthermore, the EU’s failure to refer to the Turkish Cypriots and disregarding them in these conclusions are again outrageous and alarming.

This situation has been the latest example of EU becoming the hostage of the Greek side on the Cyprus issue and it cannot stay impartial. In fact, it is a reality that the EU, by failing to materialize its own decisions taken and its own promises given in 2004, had already been disregarding the Turkish Cypriots. We strongly condemn this attitude of the EU as well.

We would like to emphasize once again that we will resolutely carry on with our hydrocarbon activities together with the TRNC and, should the EU apply certain preventive measures, we will retaliate accordingly.

It is a great paradox on the part of the EU Council to express that the delimitation of exclusive economic zone and continental shelf should be made through dialogue and negotiation in good faith, in conformity with international law and the principle of good neighborly relations on the one hand, and its endorsement of the GCA’s unilateral maritime jurisdiction area claims, attempting to impose these claims upon Turkey under the pretext of “union solidarity” on the other hand.

Building peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean will only be possible with a climate of cooperation where everyone wins, respect towards our country’s and especially the Turkish Cypriots’ legitimate rights and interests stemming from relevant agreements and international law, and consideration of the political, legal, historical and geographical realities of the Eastern Mediterranean.

We will seriously reconsider our cooperation with the EU on certain areas due to its unlawful and biased stance.

Erdem Başçı Ambassador
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