Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reached out to the European Union on Saturday, while warning the bloc not to manipulate itself amid mounting tensions over the eastern Mediterranean.
The Turkish deployment of a gas-seeking vessel in waters claimed by Greece has sparked a fierce war of words with EU member states, which earlier this month extended sanctions against Ankara for another year.
The measures include a visa ban and an asset freeze against people involved in the exploration of disputed gas in the Mediterranean.
“We hope that the EU will deliver on its promises, not discriminate against us or at least not become a tool to open up enmities directed at our country,” Erdogan said in a video addressed to his ruling party congress.
Turkey does not have any problem with any country or institution “that cannot be resolved through politics, diplomacy or dialogue,” he added.
Erdogan’s message comes as EU leaders decide at a December summit whether to impose new sanctions in response to recent Turkish activity.
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Its exploration ship Oruc Reis remains the center of tensions with Brussels and on Saturday, Ankara extended its mission until November 29, despite protests from Athens.
A statement by the Greek Foreign Ministry denounced the move as “illegal conduct, further undermining any prospect of a constructive dialogue.
“These actions, which essentially cancel any prospect of improving EU-Turkey relations, are taking place, while Turkish officials claim that their country’s accession to the EU is a” strategic priority, “the ministry said.