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EU Warns Turkey with Sanctions Over East Med Provocations

Turkish vessel Oruc Reis. Credit: AMNA

The European Union toughened its stance towards Turkey on Thursday and warned that sanctions will be discussed at the December EU Summit if Ankara continues its provocations in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The EU’s High Representative Josep Borrell, participating at a video conference of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council stressed that Turkey’s behavior “widens the gap” separating it from Europe and that a return to a positive agenda presupposes a “fundamental change of attitude” on its part.

“We consider the recent actions and statements by Turkey related to Cyprus contrary to the United Nations resolutions and further igniting tensions,” he said. He stressed that time is running out, noting that Euro-Turkish relations are approaching a milestone, referring to the December 10-11 EU summit.

“There have been no positive signals” from Ankara, the Spanish official said.

A similar message, namely that if Turkey continues the provocations in the Eastern Mediterranean sanctions will be discussed at the December European Council, was sent by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

“It is up to Turkey what decision will be taken at the EU summit in December,” he said.

The EU should “immediately prepare and adopt appropriate measures that will force Turkey to respect International Law,” Greek Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias told the video conference.

The minister noted that despite an October decision by the Council to seek a positive dialogue with Greece’s neighboring country, “Turkey did the polar opposite,” and went ahead with provocative actions in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“Unfortunately, Turkey is responsible for the fact there does not seem to be any room for a so-called positive dialogue with Turkey,” the minister observed, and reiterated that Greece unequivocally condemns the Turkish president’s recent visit to Varosha, which openly violates UN Security Council resolutions.

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