Unequivocal support for Greece and Cyprus in the face of Turkey’s actions was expressed by European Parliament President David Sassoli, in an interview appearing in the Greek newspaper “Ta Nea” on Saturday.
Asked about the Turkey-Libya agreement, Sassoli replied: “I fully understand that this is a worrying development. The memorandum of understanding between Turkey and Libya does not have a legal basis, as is mentioned in the recent conclusions of the [European] Council. It violates the sovereign rights of third countries. Greece and Cyprus have our unequivocal support and solidarity and we are continuing to monitor the situation.”
At another point in the interview, Sassoli noted that “our position on Turkish drilling activity in the Exclusive Economic Zone has always been absolutely clear. We unequivocally condemn these actions.”
Calling on Turkey to exhibit self-restraint and to respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus, he repeated that there was complete solidarity with every member-state whose territorial integrity was not respected.
Replying to questions about his recent meeting with Turkey’s foreign minister, in the context of Turkey’s threats relating to the refugee crisis, Sassoli said he had made it clear that it was completely unacceptable to use people fleeing war and persecution to put pressure on the EU.
“We refuse to give in to any kind of blackmail…seeing people die in their effort to cross the Mediterranean or being held in NGO ships is shameful for Europe,” he added.
He also expressed disappointment that the start of accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia was blocked by the veto of certain EU member-states, noting that the two countries had met the criteria and “deserved this signal”.