East Med: Greece, Cyprus seek more European Union pressure to stop Turkey

East Med: Greece, Cyprus seek more European Union pressure to stop Turkey

In their summit statement, the 27 leaders said that the European Union "deplores the renewed unilateral and provocative measures by Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean, including recent exploration activities", and called on Ankara to retreat from its last step, and reaffirmed their "full solidarity" with the two members Greece and Cyprus.

Greece's government said, meanwhile, that it wouldn't take part in planned exploratory talks with Turkey as long as the survey mission was in progress.

"We are keen to proceed with the path we took with Turkey ..."

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Friday's agenda will include Turkey's aggressive behaviour in the eastern Mediterranean following a proposal put forth by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to European Council President Charles Michel.

Both Turkey and Greece have this week accused each other of engaging in "provocations", including plans to hold military drills in the Aegean Sea later this month to coincide with the other country's national public holiday.

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He warned that plans that disregard the interests of Turkey and the breakaway northern Cyprus would not succeed.

The EU leaders left themselves exposed because they failed to come up with a solution to the gas dispute, instead proposing a "carrot-and-stick" approach - offering multiple benefits but also threatening sanctions - that appears to have failed, the diplomats and one EU official said. It had been abandoned since the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974.

Turkey on Thursday denied accusations by Greece that Ankara refused an overflight permit to a plane carrying Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, forcing the aircraft to remain in the air for 20 minutes.

"The plane in question took off from Iraq without presenting a flight plan.

Even certain countries that believed Turkey would do what is said have been contradicted by developments in recent days", Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas told Greek state broadcaster ERT on Friday, commenting on the ongoing developments in Brussels.

"When the aforementioned aircraft arrived at our airspace, the plan was urgently requested from the Iraqi authorities, and after the plan was received, the flight was carried out safely", the ministry said. "I find it regrettable, and think that it was not necessary", she said, adding that the leaders discussed this topic during today's meeting.

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