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EU chief warns Turkey against ‘intimidating’ its neighbors

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday warned Turkey against attempts to intimidate Greece and Cyprus as tensions grow in the eastern Mediterranean.

In her annual State of the EU speech, von der Leyen said Ankara was a key partner doing important work hosting refugees, but warned “none of this is justification for attempts to intimidate its neighbors.”

“Yes, Turkey is in a troubled neighborhood. And yes, it is hosting millions of refugees, for which we support them with considerable funding. But none of this is justification for attempts to intimidate its neighbors,” she said.

She said EU member states, Cyprus and Greece, can always count on Europe’s full solidarity on protecting their legitimate sovereignty rights.  

“De-escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean is in our mutual interest. The return of exploratory vessels to Turkish ports in the past few days is a positive step in this direction. This is necessary to create the much needed space for dialogue. Refraining from unilateral actions and resuming talks in genuine good faith is the only path forward.  The only path to stability and lasting solutions,” the President of the European Commission said.

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