The European Union is ready to take further restrictive measures against Turkey if Ankara refuses to engage in a dialogue to ease tensions that flared up after the country sent a survey vessel to map out possible oil and gas drilling in territorial waters of EU members Cyprus and Greece.
In a statement published late on Thursday, the Mediterranean littoral members of the EU, gathered for their seventh summit in Corsica, France, said 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.”
The position of the seven EU states does not necessarily reflect the stance of the whole bloc.
Cyprus‘ proposal in June to impose EU sanctions on more Turkish companies and individuals has not been approved as many EU states, including Germany, want to defuse the Turkey stand-off through dialogue.
Speaking at a news conference at the end of the Corsica summit, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Ankara still has time to end its exploration activities in non-demarcated maritime zones before the 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.
Earlier on Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron said the problem was not with the Turkish people, for whom he had great respect, but with the government of President Tayyip Erdogan.
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades sent the message that the need for a decisive EU position that will have a cost on Turkey is a must, and that it is not possible for Ankara to continue to act unhindered in the region.