Emmanuel Macron has called for punishing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as tensions between the EU and Turkey continue to escalate. Tensions erupted this week after Greece accused Turkey of undermining its sovereignty by threatening to send ships to take natural resources in Greek territorial waters. There are growing concerns that this crisis will turn into naval clashes between EU member states and Ankara.
French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday gave his support to Greece in the dispute.
Mr Macron called for sanctions against Turkey, adding that he would soon convene an emergency meeting of southern EU states.
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He said: “We must not accept threats against the maritime area of an EU Member State.
“Europe must defend its sovereignty”.
However, Turkey responded by ridiculing the threats, claiming that “Macron’s statements are of no value to our country”.
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said the threats “will have no results.”
Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for Turkish President Erdogan, also hit back at the recent response from the Greek military.
He said Greece’s behavior was “excessive”, adding: “We don’t want military or political tensions”.
The US ambassador to Greece said Washington supported Athens on the issue.
Geoffrey Pyatt said: “I want to echo the clear message from Washington and elsewhere in Europe, urging the Turkish authorities to end operations which increase tensions in the region, such as plans to investigate natural resources in areas where Greece and Cyprus assert their Eastern Mediterranean jurisdiction. “
Diplomatic tensions between Greece and Turkey escalated on Friday when President Tayyip Erdogan joined huge crowds in Istanbul for prayers at Hagia Sophia, the historical museum turned mosque.
The Greeks regard the site as a central part of their Orthodox Christian religion, which prompted Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to call Turkey a “troublemaker”.
He said the conversion of Hagia Sophia was an “affront to 21st century civilization”.
Furious Greeks took to the streets to burn Turkish flags and condemn the president Erdogan’s actions.