Greek Cypriot leader says Turkey, EU at 'critical crossroad'

Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiades said on Saturday that the European Union was at a critical point regarding its relations with Turkey, Cyprus Mail reported.

Unless the EU takes necessary steps against what Anastasiades called Turkey's illegal behaviour in the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean, the bloc will damage its own credibility, Cyprus Mail quoted the Greek Cypriot leader as saying in an interview with the Greek newspaper Ta Nea.

Tensions between Turkey and Greece and Cyprus intensified in 2019, as Turkey stepped up efforts to exploit the hydrocarbon reserves in the eastern Mediterranean by sending drillships to the divided island of Cyprus' exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Turkish efforts prompted the EU to levy sanctions on Turkish individuals and energy companies.

"The continuing illegal Turkish actions within the Cypriot EEZ have forced us to react using political means, with the main pillar being the adoption of a series of measures against Turkey by the EU," Anastasiades said.

Meanwhile, Turkey signed a maritime boundary agreement with Libya's internationally-recognised government in November 2019 with the goal of creating a sea corridor between the two countries - cutting through a zone claimed by Greece and Egypt.