The EU and its Member States must vigorously defend Cyprus and Greece against Turkish aggression, if needed, by increasing sanction pressure or by deploying EU naval forces in the Eastern Mediterranean, if Turkey does not stop violating Cypriot and Greek sovereignty.

“Turkey is an important partner for Europe, but Turkey’s gunboat diplomacy, the illegal drilling in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus, the violations of Greek airspace and it’s attacks on the Greek border are not examples of a constructive partnership. On the contrary, the Turkish government’s actions are currently aggravating tensions in the Mediterranean region, putting stability and security in Europe in danger. We must be prepared to do more to protect ourselves against Turkish aggression on our southern borders”, stressed Manfred Weber MEP, Chairman of the EPP Group.

So far, Turkey has launched six drilling operations in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone and more drillings are planned. The daily violations of Greek airspace are continuing and Turkey’s Foreign Minister threatened to “not hold back those who want to leave" for Europe. Furthermore, Turkey also plans to drill in Greek maritime space, near Crete.

“The European Union cannot be blackmailed and threatened, and stands united against those leaders who violate international law, principles and values", insisted Vangelis Meimarakis MEP, Head of the Greek Delegation of the EPP Group. "The European Parliament plenary debate on Turkish provocation sends a coordinated and strong signal to President Erdogan that he has crossed the line and that if he continues to challenge Europe, there will be a single and immediate response”, he added.

Such a response might consist of sending the naval forces of EU Member States to monitor and reinforce the protection of the Cypriot and Greek borders, suggested Lefteris Christoforou MEP, Head of the Cypriot Delegation of the EPP Group. "I call upon the EU and its Member States to take immediate and decisive action to stop the Turkish aggression against Cyprus and Greece, and to protect their maritime borders - which are also EU borders - with their naval forces", he concluded.

NOTE TO EDITORS

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 187 Members from all EU Member States

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