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Greece expects the European Council to decree sanctions against Turkey

Athens, Dec 9 (EFE) .- Greece hopes that the European Union (EU) summit this Thursday and Friday will produce a clear list of sanctions against Turkey, in view of the fact that the Government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan has not complied with the demand to stop provocations in waters that Cyprus and Greece consider to be within their jurisdiction.

“I cannot foresee the decision of the European Council (EC), but I hope that the EU does not put its prestige at risk,” said Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in an interview with private television Alpha, and stated that the majority of Member States agree with Greece.

The Foreign Minister, Nikos Dendias, for his part, reaffirmed that “Turkey’s behavior is a provocation for all of Europe” and that it is clear that “a reaction is necessary” against that country.

After a month and a half of exploration in areas that Turkey claims as its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), but which overlap with that declared by Greece, the Turkish seismic vessel Oruc Reis withdrew on November 30 to the port of Antalya, which Ankara called it an act of goodwill to resume the dialogue.

Athens, for its part, believes that Turkey intends to avoid sanctions and highlights that the Oruc Reis was also withdrawn on the eve of the previous European Council to restart explorations immediately afterwards.

Greece will insist that the Council ask the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, to present a list of sanctions that includes an embargo on the sale of arms and the interruption of the financing of Ankara by the EU.


However, although Athens has the support of several Member States, including France and Austria, there are countries, such as Germany, Spain and Italy, that are clearly opposed to the idea of ​​sanctions.

In a recent interview with the European edition of Politico, Dendias expressed his disappointment at the German attitude and criticized that country for not living up to its role as EU leader.

“I understand that it is an economic problem (for Germany) but I am sure that it realizes the contradiction of selling arms to a country that threatens the peace and stability of two EU member states,” he stressed.

Turkey is the largest customer of the German arms industry and in 2018-2019 absorbed a third of its exports.

Armaments are also exported to Turkey by seven other States of the Union: Spain, Italy, France, Holland, the Czech Republic, Finland and Sweden.

Another reason for German opposition to the sanctions is their concern that Turkey will reopen its borders with Europe to the more than four million refugees and migrants living on its territory.


For almost fifty years, Greece and Turkey have disputed the continental shelves and exclusive economic zones (EEZs) in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey also demands the demilitarization of the Aegean and Dodecanese islands.

According to the Lausanne (1923) and Paris (1947) treaties, these islands, close to the Turkish coast, must be demilitarized but after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, Greece installed its Armed Forces there with the argument of protecting its sovereignty.

In addition, Turkey maintains that Greece illegally occupies dozens of small islands in the Aegean Sea, several of them inhabited.

After an especially tense summer in the Mediterranean, the EU decided to give dialogue another chance but warned that it would consider hardening its response in December if relations with Ankara did not improve.

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