Greece & Cyprus want EU to stop ‘provocative’ Turkey amid Eastern Mediterranean row
Athens and Nicosia expect the European Union to exert more pressure on Ankara over Turkey’s natural gas exploration in contested Eastern Mediterranean waters at an ongoing summit in Brussels.
“Turkey remains consistent in its provocative and aggressive behavior. In this context, the EU must show the same consistency in the implementation of the decisions it has already taken, so that Turkey’s behavior has the appropriate consequences,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stressed on Thursday, as he arrived for the summit.
On Friday, ahead of the talks, Slovenian PM Janez Jansa expressed hope that the bloc “will be able to strongly and unanimously support Greece and Cyprus against the newest provocations made by Turkey.”
A senior EU diplomat was also quoted as saying before the summit that “there will be an effort to give a strong warning” to Turkey.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Thursday that unless Turkey shows “respect for the integrity of Greece and Cyprus” then the European Council in December will consider initiating sanctions. “We really wish that Turkey clarifies its positions and returns to a spirit of dialogue,” he said.
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“The prevailing climate indicates that Turkey has proven unreliable. Even certain countries that believed Turkey would do what is said have been contradicted by developments in recent days,” Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas told Greek state broadcaster ERT on Friday, commenting on the ongoing developments in Brussels.
In September, EU leaders warned Turkey against “provocations” in waters disputed by Greece and Cyprus, but earlier this week Ankara sent its seismic survey ship, which had been recalled last month, back into the waters of the eastern Mediterranean. The move was criticized by several EU members as a blow to negotiation efforts.
The Turkish leadership, in turn, has criticized the EU for continued references to possible sanctions against Ankara, with the country’s diplomats even suggesting EU-Turkey relations had been “taken hostage” by Greece and Cyprus. Turkey has also accused the EU of failing to deliver on promises regarding a customs union deal, visa liberalization and the reopening of EU membership chapters.
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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan went even further this week, saying that Turkey will give Greece the “answer it deserves” over the Eastern Mediterranean dispute.
Nevertheless, the EU had earlier made it clear that dialogue with Turkey was possible, and the Greek prime minister had, in September, called for giving diplomacy a chance. “Everybody understands that this constant escalation of tension cannot continue,” Mitsotakis said. “And I refuse to believe that partnership between close neighbors is not possible.”
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Source:RT World News