The EU Foreign Affairs Council will draft a proposal on Greece’s request that would allow for sanctions to be placed on Turkey if Ankara commits criminal acts against Greece, the Greek Foreign Minister said on Wednesday, according to Greek News.
“The Council agreed and gave the mandate to the High Representative,” said Nikos Dendias, the Greek foreign minister.
Greece discussed a wide range of sanctions against Turkey with the EU, including sanctions on tourism, banks, and the suspension of imports and exports into the country, the Dendia told Star Channel.
Greece was angered by a controversial deal that was struck between the internationally recognized Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), one of the main warring factions in the Libyan civil war, and Turkey that gives Ankara drilling rights over vast swathes of the Eastern Mediterranean.
Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, and the EU have all condemned the deal.
An adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made threats against Greece, saying Turkey would retaliate if Greece moves to defend parts of the Mediterranean Sea that Ankara has been exploring, Greek City Times, a Greek-expat focused news site, reported.
The ongoing conflict in Libya has had direct repercussions on the Eastern Mediterranean region as Turkey secures further deals with the GNA, which Ankara has supplied with weapons and fighters. Although the motives for Turkish interference in Libya are unclear, experts have suggested that it may be a move to secure the country’s rich hydrocarbon assets.
The struggle to control these oil supplies has been at the center of the country’s unrest since 2011. Libya is home to 48.4 billion barrels of proven oil reserves – Africa’s largest proven reserves – making the country an important player in global hydrocarbon markets.
Turkey meanwhile has been historically vocal in its ambition to become a regional hydrocarbon hub, and the move to secure the fertile East Mediterranean resources could be one-step toward that, analysts said.
The foreign minister also said that a follow-up session on sanctions against Turkey will take place in August, and not September as previously announced.