EU set to sanction Turkey over boats in contested east Med mining area — Middle East Monitor


The European Union is preparing sanctions against Turkey which could be discussed in the bloc’s next summit on September 24 in reaction to this eastern Mediterranean dispute with Greece, the EU’s top diplomat said on Friday.

The steps, meant to restrict Turkey’s capacity to explore for natural gas in waters that are contested, could contain people, boats, or the usage of European ports, Josep Borrell stated. The EU would concentrate on everything associated with”actions we believe illegal”, he added.

He talked in Berlin in which EU foreign ministers met to discuss aid for Greece after Athens ratified a pact on its own maritime boundaries to cancel Turkey’s promises to energy sources in the area amid Turkish and Greek military exercises.

Borrell, who chaired the meeting, said the bloc was able to sanction Turkish boats, obstruct their access to EU ports and cut off equipment. The EU may also impose sanctions on the Turkish market.

Turkey intends to rid itself of the shackles imposed by energy imports because of the natural gas located in the Black Sea — Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

“We can proceed to steps linked to sectoral actions… in which the Turkish market is associated with the European market,” Borrell told a news conference, referring to potential sanctions.

Turkey’s foreign ministry said the EU had no foundation for its position and rejected Greek marine claims.

“It’s beyond the constraints of the EU to criticise the hydrocarbon actions of our nation within our continental shelf and demand that we stop them,” spokesman Hami Aksoy said.

Borrell and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas stated the EU first wished to give dialogue an opportunity to cool tensions between Greece and Turkey, that are NATO allies.

Turkey is also an official candidate to join the EU, even though its candidacy is in danger and may be removed as a sort of sanction, diplomats have said.

Two senior EU diplomats told Reuters that foreign ministers agreed to make some choice to EU government leaders, that are set to meet to get a hierarchical summit from September 24.

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“Nothing is going to be determined prior to the September European Council,” a senior diplomat said, even though the envoy added that Turkey could be rewarded with increased access into the EU’s economy of 450 million customers if it simplifies its own drilling.

Greece and Turkey are at odds over the rights to possible hydrocarbon resources in the region, according to conflicting claims within the magnitude of their continental shelves.

Tensions increased this month later Ankara discharged the Oruc Reis seismic survey vessel at a contested area after the pact between Athens and Cairo.


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