Turkey’s decision to send a research vessel into waters believed to be rich in oil and gas has led to heightened tensions with Cyprus.
Turkish forces invaded the north of the island in 1974 in response to a military coup; it has remained divided ever since.
The self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is only recognised as a state by Turkey
Now MEPs have passed a non-binding motion criticising Ankara for entering Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone.
“It’s not possible that Turkey wants to be a member of the EU with the logic it has. It follows an authoritarian path and plays the role of the region’s policeman at the expense of smaller states,” said Cypriot MEP Dimitris Papadakis
Selim Yenel, Turkey’s ambassador to the EU said the parliament had “taken an unfortunate decision that is not within its scope at a time when it shouldn’t intervene.
“The decision is useless, invalid and helps no-one. Turkey won’t take this decision into account,” he told euronews in an interview.
Euronews’ Efi Koutsokosta reports from Brussels that the Cyprus government suspended negotiations with Turkish Cypriots in early October.
She says officials in Nicosia have long insisted both sides of the island will benefit from the exploitation of the hydrocarbons in the event of a final peace deal.