Jan 11 2019

Turkey’s EU bid important for regional stability, says Greek prime minister

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras expressed support for Turkey’s full membership to the European Union, saying it would be beneficial for both Turkish people and regional stability, BBC Turkish reported on Friday.

“Turkey’s EU membership will both be beneficial for Turkish people and be important for ensuring stability in the region,” BBC Turkish quoted Tsipras as saying during the German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Athens on Thursday.

The Greek president said that during their meeting he and Merkel had discussed the Turkish-Greek relations and the situation in Cyprus.

Tsipras called for support to efforts for establishing peace in Syria and said that the Cypriot government had the right to explore gas in its own exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The gas exploration efforts in Cyprus have raised tensions in the past two years, as Ankara says a breakaway Turkish-Cypriot enclave in the north of the island, which is only recognised by Ankara, has a right to a share in the reserves. The Cypriot government says any proceeds from gas drilling will be shared fairly after a peace deal in the island is established.

Ankara also claims that parts of some blocks Cyprus has designated as its own EEZ fall inside Turkey’s continental shelf.