European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen said on Sept. 16 that nothing could justify Turkey's intimidation of Greece and Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean in a dispute over energy resources. "Turkey is and will always be an important neighbour. But while we are close together on the map, the distance between us appears to be growing," she said.
Turkey said early on Sept. 14 that the United States needed to return to a neutral stance on Cyprus. "We invite the U.S. to return to the neutrality policy it traditionally follows on the island of Cyprus and to contribute to the efforts aimed at the solution of the Cyprus issue," Turkey's Foreign Ministry said.
European Union sanctions on Belarus are being delayed by a separate dispute between Cyprus and Turkey over energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, four EU diplomats told Reuters, in the latest sign of paralysis in the bloc's foreign policy.
U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale said that the U.S. wants tighter cooperation on developing gas finds in the “strategically significant” eastern Mediterranean. Hale said hydrocarbon development would aim to “provide durable energy security and economic prosperity throughout the Mediterranean."
French fighter jets arrived in Greek Cyprus on August 11, Politis daily reported. Greek Cyprus and France, allies in the eastern Mediterranean, have been in the midst of increasingly tense relations with Ankara about the critical region.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said that Athens urged European Union (EU) states to have "crippling sanctions" against Ankara ready in case the latter continues drilling in waters claimed by Greece.
Turkey has voiced discontent with the United States' decision to provide International Military Education and Training (IMET) to Greek Cypriot soldiers in accordance with the 2020 fiscal year appropriations act. "This and similar steps do not contribute to the efforts towards the settlement of the Cyprus issue, but on the contrary, lead to strengthening the intransigent attitude of the Greek Cypriot side," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.
Crossings between the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides of the divided island and sealed shut by the coronavirus lockdown will gradually start reopening from June 8.
Turkey has blasted Greece, Greek Cyprus, Egypt, France and the United Arab Emirates after these countries issued a joint declaration denouncing Ankara’s policies in the eastern Mediterranean and Libya. In a strongly-worded statement, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said these five countries were pursuing “regional chaos and instability” in the eastern Mediterranean and sacrificing Libyans’ “hope for democracy for the reckless aggression of dictators.”