The leaders of the European Union on Friday (10/16/2020) condemned Turkey’s actions in the Eastern Mediterranean, where its hydrocarbon exploration operations dramatically aggravated old tensions with Greece and Cyprus.
The conclusions of the two-day European summit in Brussels mention the condemnation of Turkey’s “unilateral and provocative actions” and reiterate its “full solidarity” with Greece and Cyprus, two EU member countries.
At the same time, they urge Turkey to “reverse these actions” and ensure the reduction of tensions in the area. For her part, the head of the German government, Angela Merkel, told reporters that “the recent unilateral measures taken by Turkey, which are obviously provocations, have increased tensions again instead of dissolving them.” This “is very regrettable, and also unnecessary,” he added.
“You have to know that the language of threat will not work with Turkey. Instead of threatening Turkey, the European Union should make proposals to resolve the dispute in an unbiased and mutually beneficial way,” reacted the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Relations in a statement.
They warn sanctions against Turkey
EU leaders had a lengthy discussion about their relations with Turkey at a summit just two weeks ago, but Greece and Cyprus put their demands on the Turkish attitude in the Mediterranean again on the agenda.
After a similar dispute in August, Turkey redeployed the research ship “Oruc Reis” in waters between Cyprus and the Greek islands of Crete and Kastellorizo.
The United States and Germany, two staunch NATO allies of Greece and Turkey, have called the Turkish gas exploration mission a “provocation” and urged Ankara to withdraw the ship.
However, the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, said on Friday that there would be no change in the strategy agreed at the last summit.
Under that plan, the EU will closely monitor Turkey’s actions in the eastern Mediterranean and decide on possible actions at a summit scheduled for December.
The bloc warned Turkey that all options are on the table, including sanctions.
French President Emmanuel Macron strongly supported Greece to the point of mobilizing a war fleet in the Mediterranean as a show of force, but said Europe was ready to speak with Turkey. However, he warned that “we will not yield anything to these provocations.”
mg (afp, AP)