A united Europe comes out swinging for Cyprus against provocative Turkey

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The President of the European Council, Mr. Donald Tusk expressed Europe’s commitment to defend and support Cyprus against Turkish provocations, during a joint press conference on Thursday with outgoing European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

"The European Council is ready to respond appropriately and with full solidarity to Cyprus," said Donald Tusk, while referring to his request to the Commission to propose appropriate ‘concrete’ measures against Turkey.

"We had a major discussion, particularly with regard to Cyprus," Jean-Claude Juncker said on his part, calling “what Turkey is doing in the territorial waters of Cyprus as unacceptable”.

Their public condemnation was accompanied by support from The European People's Party (EPP) and the Party of European Socialists (PES) who also condemned Turkey's illegal drilling activities in Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), in announcements released on Thursday.

In a meeting of EPP leaders held ahead of the European Council in Brussels, they "expressed their full solidarity to [Cyprus] President Nicos Anastasiades over the latest Turkish provocation in Cyprus. The EPP strongly condemns Turkish drilling activities within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)," the announcement said.

“We consider Turkey’s actions in the Exclusive Economic Zone to be a very serious breach of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus. We continue to closely monitor developments in the Eastern Mediterranean region and call on the Turkish government to cease its illegal actions immediately ...and respect the territorial integrity of Cyprus. Cypriot citizens can count on our full support and solidarity”, said EPP President Joseph Daul.

The PES, which had issued an announcement denouncing Turkey actions in Cyprus' EEZ two days earlier, on Thursday said its summit meeting ahead of the European Council had again "denounced the attempts by Turkey to begin gas exploration in the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone". The "Prime Ministers, Commissioners and leaders called on Turkey to uphold good neighbourly relations with surrounding states and to respect the territorial integrity of Cyprus," it added.