Sanctions against Turkey are being prepared by the European Union in response to Turkey’s dispute in the eastern Mediterranean with Greece and the sanctions are likely to be discussed t the next meeting of the bloc later in September, according to a top diplomat of the EU.
Josep Borrell said abilities of individuals, ships or the use of European ports could be affected by the sanctions aimed at limiting the ability of Turkey to explore for natural gas in the contested waters. He added that everything related to “activities we consider illegal” will be focused in the sanctions.
Borrell ad these comments in Berlin during a meeting of EU foreign ministers to discuss support for Greece following the ratification of Athens of a pact on its maritime boundaries designed against the claim of Turkey to the energy resources in the region.
Tensions flared up again after six Greek F-16 jets which took off from the island of Crete were prevented from entering an area where Ankara is conducting maritime activity by Turkish F-16 jets on Thursday, said Turkey’s Defense Ministry.
Greek jets which were returning to base on Crete were harassed by Turkish fighter aircraft, Greek media reported.
Accusations and counter accusations on military issues are common between the two NATO allies.
The sanctions being planned against Turkey could include cutting off supplies to Turkey and actions against Turkish vessels such as blocking their access to EU ports, Borrell said in Berlin.
“We can go to measures related to sectoral activities … where the Turkish economy is related to the European economy,” Borrell told a news conference, referring to possible sanctions.
While rejecting the Greek maritime claims, Turkey’s foreign ministry said the EU had no basis for its stance.
Turkey will continue to protect its rights and interests everywhere, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
“Our President told him NATO must fulfill its responsibility against unilateral steps which disregard international law and harm regional peace,” Erdogan’s office said in a statement.
Taking a notably tough stand on Turkey’s actions in the eastern Mediterranean, and the sanctions against Turkey were designed to set red lines since actions and not words are understood by Ankara, said the French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday.
In order to cool tensions, the EU first wanted to give dialogue a chance, said Borrell and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
Diplomats have said that the formal candidature of Turkey to join the EU could be at risk as could even be withdrawn as a type of sanction.
A final decision on the sanctions was left by the foreign minister to be taken by the EU government leaders set to meet for a two-day summit from September 24, claimed reports quoting senior EU diplomats.
“Nothing will be decided before the September European Council,” a senior diplomat said according to reports.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)