Strong condemnation of Turkey’s actions in draft conclusions of European Council

European leaders will strongly condemn Turkey’s “continued illegal actions” in the eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean, while expressing full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus, according to the draft conclusions of the European Council leaked ahead of the summit on Thursday.

The EU leaders will discuss Turkey’s actions on Thursday evening during the summit dinner, where Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades will brief their EU counterparts on Turkey’s provocative stance in the Aegean and Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone. European leaders are expected to send a strong message to Ankara ahead of the EU-Turkey leaders’ summit in Varna on March 26, when European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The European Council will start off on Thursday afternoon with a discussion on trade and the steel and aluminium import tariffs announced by the United States. EU leaders are expected to back proposals for “reasonable” countermeasures proposed by the European Commission.

A discussion on the issue of Russia will follow, with UK Prime Minister Theresa May briefing her counterparts on the investigation underway concerning the Salisbury attack. European leaders are expected to express full solidarity and support for the UK, as well as their readiness to coordinate the measures that must be taken against Russia, but stop short of imposing sanctions.