Ankara must respect the sovereignty of EU member states over their sea and airspace, European Commission spokesperson Maja Kocijancic told euractiv.com.
On 30 November, Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, referred to the eastern Aegean Imia islets as “Turkish soil”. Previously, the leader of the Turkish Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu accused Greece of occupying 18 islands in the Aegean Sea.
The statements triggered strong reactions in Athens, with the foreign affairs ministry saying that Greece’s sovereignty over its islands in the Aegean, including Imia, is “undisputable and established by international law”.
Turkey’s “Irresponsible references to the contrary are provocative,” the ministry stressed in a statement.
Contacted by EURACTIV, Maja Kocijancic stated that Turkey needed to commit itself “unequivocally” to good neighbourly relations.
“The EU urges Turkey to avoid any kind of source of friction, threat or action directed against a member state, which damages good neighbourly relations and the peaceful settlement of disputes,” the Commission spokesperson, adding that negative statements that damage good relations should be avoided.
“Moreover, the EU also stresses the need to respect the sovereignty of member states over their territorial sea and airspace,” Kocijancic emphasised.