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EU set to sanction Turkey over east Mediterranean: Top diplomat

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

The measures could include individuals, ships or the use of European ports, said Josep Borrell, adding the EU would focus on everything related to “activities we consider illegal.”

Tensions between Turkey and Greece escalated after Ankara sent a survey vessel to disputed eastern Mediterranean waters this month, a step Athens called illegal.

Turkey said Thursday it will host military drills involving the use of live ammunition in the eastern Mediterranean next week, according to a tweet by Turkey's TRT Arabic news outlet.

The French Tonnerre helicopter carrier, center, escorted by Greek and French military vessels during a maritime exercise in the Eastern Mediterranean, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. (AP)
The French Tonnerre helicopter carrier, center, escorted by Greek and French military vessels during a maritime exercise in the Eastern Mediterranean, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. (AP)

The drills will take place on Tuesday, September 1, and Wednesday, September 2, said TRT, despite concerns being voiced by Greece, Cyprus and other countries over Turkey's increasingly assertive claims over mineral rights in vast swathes of disputed waters.

“We are determined to protect our rights in the eastern Mediterranean,” the Turkish media outlet quoted the country's Defense Minister Hulusi Agar as saying.

Agar echoed the words of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said on Wednesday that Ankara was “determined to do whatever is necessary” to secure its claims in the eastern Mediterranean.

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