Facing the prospect of sanctions from both the United States and the European Union, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that economic penalties would be harmful to all sides and that Turkey resolved disputes with its allies through negotiation and cooperation Can do.
Erdogan’s remarks came hours after the European Union extended a green light to expand sanctions against Turkey over the discovery of gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean waters claimed by EU members Greece and Cyprus.
Turkey is also facing US restrictions on the purchase of the Russian air defense system, resulting in NATO-members already withdrawing from the US F-35 stealth combat program.
Erdogan said in a teleconference address to his ruling party officials, “We have deep political and economic ties with both the United States and the European Union, which can neither ignore the side nor mitigate the risk . ” “There is no issue that cannot be resolved through dialogue and cooperation.”
European Union leaders said early Friday that Turkey – which is a candidate to join, although its membership talks have been blocked – “engaged in unilateral action and provocation and pushed forward its rhetoric against the European Union.” This was despite the fact that he offered trade and other incentives to Turkey to halt its activities during its last summit in October, he said.
The leaders tasked Joseph Borel, the head of the European Union’s foreign policy, to prepare and report on the state of the political, economic and trade relations of the EU-Turkey, including increasing sanctions. By the time the summit was held in March, Burrell was asked to submit the report to the leaders.
Turkey’s foreign ministry condemned the European Union’s decision, saying that Ankara “rejects the biased and unlawful attitude” of the 27-member group. It added that the decision was approved in solidarity with Greece and Cyprus.
But Erdogan, speaking to reporters earlier on Friday, suggested that the decision was less severe than expected for Greece and Cyprus.
“The (decision) did not meet the expectations of some countries, because their demand was not the only one,” Erdogan said. “Some reasonable countries within the European Union claimed their positive stance and spoiled their game.”
European Union countries are divided to handle Turkey. France and Cyprus have stressed drastic measures such as economic sanctions, but other countries are concerned about reducing the country’s already deteriorating economy and destabilizing the region.
Speaking in Brussels after the EU summit, French President Emmanuel Macron said, “Clearly always open for dialogue, but will not accept a policy destabilizing its member states as well as its regional environment” . “
He praised the EU decision and the possibility of US sanctions as a response to “Turkey’s discrepancies within NATO”.
“It shows that we are right, sometimes, to be clear and articulate when attitudes are unacceptable.”
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that the European Union took a strong step forward to Turkey for a “change in behavior”.
He said that, for Greece, the ban was not a goal in itself.
“But Turkey continues to threaten in terms of sanctions. Its provocative action is the best tool at our disposal,” he said. “We do not want Turkey to be a provocative and aggressive neighbor. And I do not believe it is for the benefit of Turkey or Greece or Europe. “
Tensions between NATO ally Turkey and Greece escalated in the summer with a military buildup when Turkey sent its seismic survey vessel Oru Reis, which was flown into disputed waters by naval frigates. The move also prompted Greece to send its warships, and both countries conducted military exercises to claim their claims.
At the end of last month, Oruk returned to the port of Rees, as it did before the October European Union meeting. However, another research ship, the Barbros Heardin Dice, is off the southwest coast of Cyprus.
Turkey says it stands for its energy rights, as well as breaks down Turkish Cypriots, while Athens and Nicosia call Turkey’s actions an illegal intrusion into areas where they have exclusive offshore exploitation rights.
Last year, the European Union established a system for travel restrictions and asset freezes associated with election ban activities on people, companies or organizations. Two of Turkey’s petroleum corporation officials are already on the list, and leaders say those restrictions should be broadened.
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