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Greece: EU report on Turkey 'positive' but has 'shortcomings'

Greece's newly appointed Foreign Minister, Nikolaos-Georgios Dendias attends a swearing-in ceremony of the new cabinet at the presidential palace in Athens on July 9, 2019 [LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP via Getty Images]
Greece's newly appointed Foreign Minister, Nikolaos-Georgios Dendias attends a swearing-in ceremony of the new cabinet at the presidential palace in Athens on July 9, 2019 [LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP via Getty Images]

Greek Foreign Minister Nikolaos Dendias said yesterday that the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell's report on the bloc's relations with Turkey is "positive" but has "shortcomings".

The Greek minister said the report is "positive in principle since it approaches Turkey as a problem that concerns the whole of Europe and underlines the problems caused by Turkey's behavior." However, the Greek diplomat noted that Turkey's "casus belli" [Cause for War], plans to reopen parts of Varosha in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus, and violations of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) were not included in the report.

Yesterday, Borrell presented a report outlining the bloc's relations with Turkey during the Council of Foreign Ministers meeting.

The report included positive and negative "agendas". On the positive side, the report proposes to review the EU's migration deal with Turkey that will likely include a fresh injection of EU funds.

READ: EU halts sanctions on Turkey oil executives as ties improve

However, it also proposes the imposition of EU sanctions on Ankara in response to Turkish naval activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The EU leaders are scheduled to meet next week in Brussels to discuss the state of EU-Turkey relations.

On 12 October, Turkey dispatched a ship to look for hydrocarbon resources in the area between the islands of Kastellorizo and Rhodes, claiming the area is included within its maritime borders. Claims Greece refutes.

International law stipulates that disputed Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZs) for islands between countries should be resolved through bilateral talks, which Greece and its allies have been rejecting and leaving coasts for Turkey which can only be used for swimming.

The ship was later withdrawn.

In August, Turkey resumed energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean after Greece and Egypt signed a controversial maritime delimitation deal, spurning Turkey's goodwill gesture in halting explorations.

Declaring the Greek-Egyptian deal "null and void", Turkey authorised the Oruc Reis to continue activities in an area within Turkey's continental shelf.

Turkey has consistently opposed Greece's efforts to declare an exclusive economic zone based on small islands near Turkish shores, violating the interests of Turkey, the country with the longest coastline on the Mediterranean.

Ankara has also said energy resources near the island of Cyprus must be shared fairly between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus.

READ: 'Turkey cannot be excluded from Eastern Mediterranean'

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