The European Union will draw up a list of new sanctions on Turkey at the end of September unless Ankara comes to the negotiating table to resolve a territorial row with Greece and Cyprus, the EU’s Mediterranean states said on Thursday.
Tensions flared between the EU and NATO member Turkey after Ankara sent a survey vessel to map out possible oil and gas drilling prospects in various parts of the eastern Mediterranean, in territory also claimed by Greece and Cyprus.
The 7 EU members with Mediterranean coastlines, gathered for a summit in Corsica, France, said in a joint communique they reiterated their “full support and solidarity with Cyprus and Greece in the face of the repeated infringements on their sovereignty (…) as well as confrontational actions by Turkey”.
“We maintain that in the absence of progress in engaging Turkey into a dialogue and unless it ends its unilateral activities, the EU is ready to develop a list of further restrictive measures that could be discussed at the European Council of Sept 24-25.”.
Speaking at a news conference at the close of the summit, French President Emmanuel Macron said the favoured option was still to restore dialogue with Turkey. “We are not naive but we want to re-engage in good faith,” he said.
Standing alongside Macron, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Ankara still has time to end its exploration activities in non demarcated maritime zones before an EU summit later this month.
“We will avert Turkey’s attempt to divide Europe,” he said, adding that Greece has been fulfilling its duty in protecting EU borders and expects solidarity in return.
Additional reporting by Renee Maltezou in Athens; Writing by Benoit Van Overstraeten and Christian Lowe in Paris, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama