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EU considering actions 'beyond sanctions' against Turkey amid eastern Mediterranean tensions

Turkey's gas exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean has heightened tensions with Greece [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 August, 2020

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The EU's chief diplomat will present a set of 'options' to respond to Turkey during an upcoming meeting of European foreign ministers.

The European Union's chief diplomat is set to present a set of "options" to respond to Turkey's energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean and will be wider-ranging than sanctions, according to a senior European official on Tuesday.

Joseo Borrell will present the options at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Berlin on Thursday and Friday for dealing with Ankara's ongoing oil drilling and exploration in the Eastern Mediterranian, the migrant crisis and Turkey's military involvement in Libya and Syria.

While sanctions remain an option for the EU, the executive’s proposed options "will be something broader than sanctions", according to an official quoted by EURACTIV.

The official added that the continental body has already taken steps to cut pre-accession funds to Turkey, amid calls from one member state for the full withdrawal of Turkey’s EU membership bid.

Greece, which accuses Turkey of infringing upon its territorial rights in the eastern Mediterranean, has called for full sanctions on Ankara.

Turkey on Tuesday said it was ready for talks with Greece in their growing row over eastern Mediterranean natural gas without any preconditions.

But the olive branch came as the two uneasy NATO allies' navies conducted separate exercises close to each other just south of Crete in a mutual show of force.

On Sunday, Turkey announced a decision to extend its exploratory ship Oruc Reis' mission by an extra four days to Thursday, which prompted an immediate Greek response to carry out naval exercises nearby.

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