Commission: Turkey must respect EU member states’ sovereignty

Federica Mogherini and her spokesperson, Maja Kocijancic. [European Council]

Ankara must respect the sovereignty of EU member states over their sea and airspace, European Commission spokesperson Maja Kocijancic told

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”.

Parliament backs freeze of Turkish membership talks

The European Parliament on Thursday voted in favour of a freeze of membership talks with Turkey over its post-coup crackdown, further escalating tensions with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Turkey’s “Irresponsible references to the contrary are provocative,” the ministry stressed in a statement.

Commission’s reaction

Contacted by EURACTIV, Maja Kocijancic stated that Turkey needed to commit itself “unequivocally” to good neighbourly relations.

Turkey slams EU vote as 'most unjust in history'

Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister, Ömer Çelik, on Tuesday (29 November) dismissed a European Parliament vote to freeze accession talks with Ankara as the “most unjust resolution in history” and urged solidarity instead.

“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.

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