EU to discuss Turkey sanctions over Mediterranean gas exploration

EU to discuss Turkey sanctions over Mediterranean gas exploration
2 min read
07 December, 2020
EU foreign ministers will meet to discuss tensions with Turkey.
Turkey's exploration vessel has led to tensions with Greece [Getty]
European Union foreign ministers will meet on Monday to discuss possible sanctions against Turkey after a dispute over Mediterranean gas.

The EU dispute with Ankara on the issue of eastern Mediterranean gas began to calm after a Turkish seismic exploration ship, the Oruc Reis, returned to port.

The bloc had already warned Turkey to end its exploration for gas in disputed Eastern Mediterranean waters of face consequences but the EU is also angered about Ankara's role in the Libya and Syria wars, relationship with Russia, and perceived increasing authoritarianism.

"I'm not aware of any EU government challenging the view that the situation is worse than October and that leaders should consider the consequences," a senior EU official told Reuters.

"We have been requesting a change that has not come."

European Council President Charles Michel previously offered Turkey a way out of the tensions but pulled concessions, the agency reported.
Germany, which holds the EU presidency, had hoped to mend ties between Turkey and Greece - which is angered by Ankara's claims for gas off Cyprus' coast.

Berlin was angered by Turkey's decision to continue its exploration of the disputed waters after an October summit.

"Putting the exploration ship back to sea straight after the summit was not taken kindly by member states that put a lot of effort in with Turkey and Greece. There are limits even to German patience," an EU diplomat told the agency.

France has called for a tough line against Turkey on the issue, with its president, Emmanuel Macron, recently engaging in a war with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

While sanctions will be discussed by the ministers on Monday, it is unlikely that a decision will be taken.

"Sanctions are on the table, but they're not automatic," said the EU diplomat.

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