MEPs lined up on Wednesday to take pots shots at Turkey over its actions in the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkey has deployed naval vessels to monitor the South’s hydrocarbon exploration and also sent its own seismic research vessel ‘Barbaros Hayreddin Pasha’ to sweep the waters in and around the South’s EEZ.
‘Cyprus Mail’ reports that the EU also came under heavy fire by MEPs in the European Parliament for turning a blind eye to Turkey’s action which were ramping up tensions in the area. All this during a plenary which was held to debate a draft resolution to censure Turkey and demand that it withdraws its vessels from the South’s EEZ.
Among those who spent their one minute of allotted time to address the assembly, British MEP Charles Tannock said, “It was inevitable that the Greek Cypriots would pull out of the talks,” he said, adding that he disagreed with the claims made by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots as far as hydrocarbons offshore Cyprus were concerned.
However, there was a lone voice of support for Turkey when British MEP Geoffrey van Orden hit out at the contents of the draft resolution. He said it was unfair and one-sided to place all the blame on Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots. “Both sides undoubtedly bear responsibility for the current situation,” he said.
Van Orden also attacked the EU for reneging on its promise in 2004 to lift the embargos on the Turkish Cypriots. “If this promise had been kept, none of the difficulties we see today would be happening,” he said.
Van Orden said that all the criticism was one-sided adding:
“If we want to make progress a solution should respect the interests and concerns of both communities.”
The debate ended with Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn welcoming the comments from MEPs and promising to convey their views to Turkey.
Voting on the resolution takes place on Thursday.