EU warns Turkey of sanctions over ‘provocations’ in Mediterranean

The EU says it could impose sanctions on Turkey over “provocations and pressures” in a row with Greece over energy resources and maritime borders.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called on Ankara to “abstain from unilateral actions” in the eastern Mediterranean.

She spoke early on Friday during a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels.

Earlier, Turkey and Greece set up a military hotline to try to reduce the risk of clashes in the region.

Tensions rose earlier this year when Turkey sent a ship into a disputed area to search for potentially rich oil and gas deposits.

Mrs von der Leyen told reporters that the EU wanted “a positive and constructive relationship with Turkey and this would be also be very much in Ankara’s interest”.

“But it will only work if the provocations and pressures stop,” she said. “We therefore expect that Turkey from now on abstains from unilateral actions. In case of such renewed actions by Ankara the EU will use all its instruments and options available. We have a toolbox that we can apply immediately.”

After their late-night meeting, EU members agreed to review Turkey’s behaviour in December and impose sanctions if “provocations” had not stopped.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, posting on Twitter after the meeting, said: “The EU issues a clear threat of sanctions against Turkey should it continue to violate international law.”

European Council President Charles Michel said the EU was offering Turkey closer relations on trade and other areas but holding out the threat of sanctions if tensions in the Mediterranean did not de-escalate. (Courtesy BBC)

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