EU sanc­tions on Tur­key seem un­likely: Ger­man govt source

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page -

Union is un­likely to launch sanc­tions against Turkey at its sum­mit which started yes­ter­day amid a dis­pute in the East­ern Mediter­ranean over drilling ac­tiv­i­ties and mar­itime zones with Greece, a Ger­man gov­ern­ment source said. Greece had re­quested to raise the is­sue at the two-day meet­ing of EU lead­ers in Brus­sels, the per­son told Reuters news agency in Ber­lin on Wed­nes­day. Ger­many does not ex­pect the EU to change its stance on sanc­tions against Turkey a mere two weeks af­ter the last sum­mit’s de­ci­sion not to im­pose puni­tive mea­sures un­til fur­ther no­tice. Asked about the pos­si­bil­ity of bringing for­ward EU sanc­tions, Ger­man For­eign Min­is­ter Heiko Maas said yes­ter­day the bloc would wait a week to de­cide how to re­act. “It’s been twice that ex­pected dis­cus­sions have not taken place, and we don’t know when they will hap­pen,” he said. “We must wait to see if there is progress in a week, and then we’ll see what at­ti­tude needs to be adopted by the EU.” Mean­while, France also crit­i­cized Turkey for the on­go­ing ten­sions. “It’s clear to us that Turkey is per­ma­nently car­ry­ing out provoca­tive acts which are un­ac­cept­able,” France’s For­eign Min­is­ter Jean-Yves Le Drian told a news con­fer­ence along­side his Ger­man and Pol­ish coun­ter­parts. He said the ball was in Ankara’s court but that the EU was ready to change the bal­ance of power if Turkey didn’t re­turn to di­a­logue.

EAR­LIER this week, Greek Prime Min­is­ter Kyr­i­akos Mit­so­takis said he would bring the East­ern Mediter­ranean cri­sis with Turkey on the agenda of the EU Coun­cil meet­ing sched­uled for Oct. 15-16, as he said Ankara would have to face con­se­quences if it does not stop “provo­ca­tions.”

Mit­so­takis was re­fer­ring to a new nav­i­ga­tional telex (Nav­tex) is­sued by Turkey, which said Turk­ish seis­mic ex­plo­ration ves­sel Oruç Reis would carry out ac­tiv­i­ties in the East­ern Mediter­ranean south of the is­land of Kastel­lorizo (Megisti-Meis) un­til Oct. 22.

He dis­cussed the de­vel­op­ment on the phone with Euro­pean Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Charles Michel, say­ing he would bring it up at the next coun­cil meet­ing on Oct. 15-16.

“This new uni­lat­eral act is a se­vere es­ca­la­tion on Turkey’s part,” a gov­ern­ment state­ment quoted Mit­so­takis as say­ing.

Turkey said Greek ob­jec­tions were “un­ac­cept­able,” in­sist­ing that the re­search ves­sel was op­er­at­ing within Turkey’s con­ti­nen­tal shelf – in an area just 15 kilo­me­ters (nearly 10 miles) from the Turk­ish coast and 425 kilo­me­ters (about 265 miles) from main­land Greece.

Turkey had an­nounced last month that it was pulling the Oruç Reis to shore for main­te­nance and re­sup­ply, say­ing the move would give “diplo­macy a chance.”

“Our ex­pec­ta­tion from Greece is for it to with­draw its max­i­mal­ist claims that are con­trary to in­ter­na­tional law ... put an end to its ex­er­cises and mil­i­tary ac­tiv­i­ties that in­crease ten­sions in the Aegean and the Mediter­ranean and to en­ter into a sin­cere di­a­logue with us,” the Turk­ish For­eign Min­istry said.

The 27 EU lead­ers will meet in Brus­sels to dis­cuss mainly the is­sues of the COVID-19 pan­demic and EUBri­tain re­la­tions in the post-Brexit era. While the first day will fo­cus on Brexit and later in the day on en­vi­ron­men­tal and cli­mate is­sues, lead­ers on the sec­ond day will dis­cuss for­eign af­fairs. It is ex­pected that is­sues in­clud­ing the sit­u­a­tion in the East­ern Mediter­ranean, Nagorno-Karabakh and Rus­sia will be on the agenda.

The lead­ers met ear­lier this month to find ways of de-es­ca­lat­ing ten­sions be­tween Turkey and bloc mem­bers Greece and the Greek Cypriot ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Greece, with France’s sup­port, has dis­puted Turkey’s energy ex­plo­ration, try­ing to box in Turk­ish mar­itime ter­ri­tory based on small is­lands near the Turk­ish coast.

Turkey has sent drill­ships to ex­plore for energy on its con­ti­nen­tal shelf, say­ing that Turkey and the Turk­ish Repub­lic of North­ern Cyprus (TRNC) also have rights in the re­gion.

To re­duce ten­sions, Turkey has called for di­a­logue to en­sure fair shar­ing of the re­gion’s re­sources.

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