Turkey says EU statement biased, ‘detached from reality’; open to talks with Greece

A view of the tiny Greek island of Kastellorizo (Megisti) with a Greek flag, in the Dodecanese, the furthest south eastern Greek Island, two kilometers from the Turkish mainland, on August 28, 2020. (AFP)

Turkey slammed a statement by European Union Mediterranean states on Friday, saying the comments were biased and “detached from reality”, but added Ankara was still open to unconditional talks with Greece.

NATO members Turkey and Greece have overlapping claims to continental shelves and rights to potential energy resources in
the eastern Mediterranean.

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But the leaders’ final statement said sanctions were possible if Turkey failed to end its “confrontational actions.”

The European Union “is ready to develop a list of further restrictive measures” that could be discussed at the European Council on September 24-25, the statement said.

Turkey has sent a natural gas exploration vessel and warships to waters claimed by Greece, but which Ankara views as its own.

In a joint statement on Thursday, the seven EU Mediterranean states said the bloc will draw up a list of new sanctions on Turkey at the end of September unless Ankara negotiates to resolve the dispute with Greece and Cyprus.

Read more: EU must impose ‘meaningful’ sanctions on Turkey if ships not withdrawn: Greek PM

Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement that Greece needed to “unconditionally sit at the negotiating table with Turkey” in order to achieve dialogue and cooperation in the region, adding Athens needed to withdraw its military ships from around Turkey’s Oruc Reis survey vessel in order to de-escalate tensions.

France has thrown strong support behind Greece, sending warships and fighter jets in an escalating row over hydrocarbon resources and naval influence in the eastern Mediterranean.

After talks with the leaders of Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain, Greece and Cyprus, Macron said the leaders wanted to re-engage in a dialogue with Turkey “in good faith.”

But the leaders’ final statement said sanctions were possible if Turkey failed to end its “confrontational actions.”

The European Union “is ready to develop a list of further restrictive measures” that could be discussed at the European Council on September 24-25, the statement said.

Turkey has sent a natural gas exploration vessel and warships to waters claimed by Greece, but which Ankara views as its own.

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Last Update: Friday, 11 September 2020 KSA 20:32 - GMT 17:32
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