“The EU is determined to establish a framework of sanctions against Turkey, both for its operations in Syria and its provocative actions in the Eastern Mediterranean, particularly in the continental shelf and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Cyprus,” government spokesperson Stelios Petsas said on Tuesday, during a press briefing.
Petsas spoke of coordinated action aiming at Turkey’s compliance with international law and the acquis communautaire.
Asked if the funds given to Turkey for migrants-refugees is also a lever of pressure, Petsas said that a delicate balance needed to be reached between the EU to pushing its neighbouring country to comply with international law and the acquis communautaire, and not abandoning the refugees. “Any financing of Turkey should be combined with clear-cut actions on its part that end the provocative behaviour,” he added.
In a poll showing that citizens are not happy with the way the government is handling migrant-refugee affairs, Petsas said this was a top issue that touched all society. He said the government’s policy provides for the decongestion of the islands, speeding up of asylum procedures, better guarding of the borders, closed pre-departure centres and an increase in the number of returns.
“Citizens will judge our policy when it begins to bear fruit and has tangible results,” he added, noting that this will happen in the spring.